hot and bothered

Sometimes it seems you can gauge an ad’s effect iveness by the likelihood of it being rejected.

Just ask Parker Madison Marketing. The small Phoenix design firm created a weird-looking Yellow Pages ad that is credited with increasing call volume to its client by 35 percent.

The phone-book publisher, Qwest Dex, had no objection to the ad in 2001 or this year, but it’s already barring the same work from appearing next year.

At first glance, the three-quarter-page ad for Chas Roberts Air Conditioning looks like a printer screwup. A circular blurb with the client’s contact info appears to pop out from a page of listings, messing up the surrounding names and addresses on the page. But the distorted listings are part of the ad. They are all bogus, and each contains the client’s phone number.

Qwest says the ad distorts the publication’s brand integrity. But Parker Madison president Robert Stokes said there are other factors at play. Specifically, he believes the phone company has a hang-up about the ad’s success.

“I believe the issue is that a smaller ad is outperforming many larger ads in front of this ad,” said Stokes. “You just have to ask yourself: If a well-designed ad outperforms those with better placement, maybe a well-executed ad is all you really need.”