YELLOW PAGES GROUP PLANS $40 MIL NAT'L DRIVE TO PUSH USAGE

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The Yellow Pages Publishers Association is seeking an agency for a $30 million to $40 million assignment that will include the group's first national ad campaign.

Consultant Morgan, Anderson & Co., New York, sent out invitation letters to 12 unidentified agencies Jan. 16.

YPPA would not name the agencies before the invitations were received. Clint Pollard, YPPA exec VP-marketing, said one of the selection criteria is that the assignment cannot represent more than one-third of an agency's total business, indicating agencies must have a minimum of $100 million in billings.

FIRST SUCH CAMPAIGN

The winning agency will launch the first nationwide campaign from the industry as a whole aimed at getting consumers to use the Yellow Pages more. The well-known "Let your fingers do the walking" campaign was from AT&T Corp.

Following the example of National Fluid Milk Processors and its milk campaign, YPPA members are pooling resources to create ads promoting the general use of the Yellow Pages.

The average person uses the Yellow Pages about twice a week, according to YPPA; the new campaign is part of YPPA's plan for a 25% increase in usage by 2001.

ADS LATER THIS YEAR

YPPA, with 402 members including GTE Corp. and the five Baby Bells, has initially approved a $6.5 million budget to select an agency and develop concepts for a 1998 test campaign.

The national print, broadcast, outdoor and other media ads are expected to break in selected markets in mid-to-late 1998, with a nationwide rollout in late '98 or early next year.

YPPA will narrow the agency list to four or five for presentations in mid-February, with a winner chosen around the first week of April.

Mr. Pollard said the Yellow Pages publishers have jointly agreed that even agencies with existing telecom accounts are eligible.

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