Gotham Crafts ‘Yellowbook Moments’

NEW YORK Yellowbook, in a new campaign from Gotham that breaks today, depicts the online and print directory as a means for extricating individuals from tragicomic situations.

In one TV spot, a clumsy husband slips and knocks over a bowl of oranges before he tells his wife that he just landed a job at a demolition company. “Will you be working in the office?” she asks hopefully. “In the field,” he replies, prompting the wife to type “life insurance” in a Yellowbook search box on her laptop computer.

In another spot, a husband proudly invites his wife outside their house to see the solar panels he just installed on the roof. But the panels cascade to the ground after a tiny bird briefly lands on them. The wife then searches “roof repair” via Yellowbook.com.

Bracketed screen copy in yellow type freezes the action near the beginning and end of each execution. The opening message is, “[A Yellowbook moment is about to happen],” and the closing one, “[The moment you need it].” As a voiceover explains, “When you need something on a moment’s notice, that’s a Yellowbook moment. Get the information you need online, on your mobile or in the book.” The tagline: “Yellowbook it.”

Gotham produced six executions for the King of Prussia, Pa., client, each cut in 30- and 15-second versions.

The Interpublic Group shop selected Steve Miller of @radical media to direct, based on his “comedic impulses” and ability to achieve great performances, said agency CCO Marty Orzio. Miller’s past work includes the “Most interesting man in the world” campaign for Dos Equis from Havas’ Euro RSCG here.

“We wanted it to be humorous,” Orzio said of the tone. “It’s really to charm you and get people to like you.”

“We’re trying to facilitate commerce by owning real-life moments that people can relate to and that are uniquely Yellowbook,” added Gotham CEO Peter McGuinness. “We’re doing it in a highly branded way . . . so as to limit misattribution and maximize our brand and business.”

Other campaign elements include a series of banner ads and consumer-generated content. Yellowbook plans to invite consumers to upload video of their own “Yellowbook moments” on the directory’s Web site.

A budget for the effort was not disclosed. Major media spending on the brand totaled nearly $25 million last year, down from more than $35 million in 2007, according to Nielsen. In the first four months of 2009, spending approached $5 million. Those figures do not include online spending.

Gotham landed the Yellowbook creative account in early 2008. Its previous campaign used the tagline, “Say Yellow to the future.”