Hoping to sidestep the competition, which has proliferated in recent years, Ketchum decided to try and brand the directory in the estimated $10-million campaign. Instead of advertising its comprehensive listings, which has been the conventional wisdom in the industry, the agency devised a series of ads around the acronym, pronounced swabips.
'The strategy of branding is rarely done,' said Millie Olson, executive vp/executive cd at Ketchum. 'The Yellow Pages is the lowest interest category there is, it's even below banking.' Since that's the case, Ketchum figured it could help recall by creating a catchy name.
The ads incorporate the nickname into a jingle and illustrate the variety of resources found in the directories, an approach Olson likens to treating 'SWBYPS as the world's largest shopping mall.'
According to Statistical Research Inc., Westfield, N.J., Southwestern Bell's revenue increases ran triple the industry average last year when the campaign began running in major markets including St. Louis, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Texas, and Kansas City, Mo. This year it will expand to Houston, San Antonio and Oklahoma City, among others.
'You know you've succeeded when people pick up advertising and incorporate it in their lives,' said Olson.
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)