ADP Launches “Power of Yellow” Campaign to Fight A “Virus of Misperception”

In a packed meeting room on Friday in Chicago, the Association of Publishers rolled out a new multi-phase effort entitled the Power of Yellow™ , to increase the factual understanding of advertisers, consumers, and the press about the continuing value of print Yellow Pages, and to immunize the industry against the “virus of misperception” that it believes it threatening the industry today.

The genesis of the campaign comes from a desire on the part by independent publishers to initiate a “Got Milk”-grass roots style of campaign for the Yellow Pages industry.  Larry Angove, President of ADP, indicated that earlier efforts to work with the former Yellow Pages Publishers Association (YPPA) on a campaign were rebuffed.

This is the first coordinated industry marketing effort since the mid-90’s when the then named Yellow Pages Publishers Association (YPPA), tried a light bulb and the tagline in the “Get an idea”

Unable to achieve any significant traction with the new branding (traction that could be verified through higher sales) the “Get an Idea” campaign was abandoned two years later.

This new, multi-faceted program general first-phase components are being provided to all ADP members at no cost, and include templated adds that can used in a range of media

  • Phased Media Releases
  • Television Spots
  • Radio Spots
  • Print Media Ads
  • Newspaper Op-Ed Articles
  • Magazine Feature Articles
  • Directory Filler Ads
  • Sales Presentation Video
  • Coordinated Sales Collateral

Support for the effort also includes:

  • Placement Guidelines and Schedules
  • Offensive Talking Points
  • Defensive talking Points
  • Advertiser Testimonials
  • Data Source Documentation

A unique feature of this new program is the inclusion of four of the industry’s leading research experts to “star” in a series of 30-second television and 30-second radio spots proclaiming the Power of Yellow™ which publishers can then add their own product information to for local release.  Featured in the spots are:

  1. Dr. Dennis Fromholzer, President, CRM Associates
  2. David Goddard, EVP, IMS Local Search Authority
  3. Paul Gordon, Vice President & General Manager, Catalyst Paper USA
  4. Steve Sitton, President & CEO, Market Authority, Inc.

In presentations at the kickoff event, each of these industry experts noted key aspects of the factual arguments this effort will present:

Dr. Dennis Fromholzer:  “….the value of a lead from print yellow pages is 25X more valuable than a click to an online ad”

David Goddard:  “….people where saying print was dead 10 years ago.  We project the print/digital revenue mix will not reach 50/50 until 2018 at the earliest…”

Paul Gordon:  “…the reality is the industry isn’t knocking down trees solely to make paper for its products”

Steve Sitton:  “…print is not dying on schedule as many said it would.  Our research has found that the migration to digital is slowing.  That’s a very inconvenient truth”

At YP Talk, we have long advocated that the industry needs to begin to confront its many critics about print.  As far back as 2005, we made several calls to action (here, and here are just two examples).  As Goddard noted at the kickoff, if the Seattle and San Francisco opt-out ordinances had held up, they could have resulted in a $500+ million hit to the industry.   In June, we advocated that the industry reconsider the use of the iconic walking fingers in its local marketing efforts (June article here).  As a result, we are ecstatic to see this new initiative from ADP and will be supporting it fully as it rolls out.

As Sitton noted at the kickoff, it’s time to stop this “virus of misinformation”.  Amen.  But the industry needs your support.  Do we have it??


14 responses to “ADP Launches “Power of Yellow” Campaign to Fight A “Virus of Misperception”

  1. The industry still has it’s collective heads buried in the sand. Not a single mention of what to do to address the consumer abandonment, most especially in the online and mobile spaces. Consumer usage is where all the value is REALLY generated and if they cannot find it, they won’t come back.

    • MM: It appears you missed the details in this announcement — print usage is GROWING, not shrinking. Call tracking volumes are up YOY. Market Authority research is showing huge disconnect between PERCEPTION of usage and ACTUAL usage — still getting 75% of adults using print during the year. Of course people have more options with online and mobile, and most of that data on those platforms comes from the same yellow pages sales person working with the local SMB.

      Given their hasn’t been an industry promotion in nearly 15 years, it’s not surprising you too would have caught the “virus of misperception”. This effort is intended to start informing consumers of the real power of yellow pages.

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  3. Great stuff Ken! Everybody keeps saying that nobody uses yellow Pages any more, and yet our verified call counts go up every year. Wonder how that happens?

  4. Interesting point, Wayne. But of course call tracking volumes are up, and also are the number of call tracking lines ending up in the books. More call tracking lines will beget more verified calls. 10 years ago the number of tracking lines was a fraction of what they are today. I believe we see calls going up because we are merely measuring more of them, not because consumers are using the product more than in the past. Back to my original point though. and opentable and poynt and whatever are solving for the consumer problem first. YPs are solving for the pitch problem first. In my personal circle, the former is winning. In my professional experience the latter is getting crushed.

    • MM:
      Your comments on call tracking analysis are blatantly incorrect. Researchers in the call tracking analysis use controlled samples where they restrict their analysis to just ads which can be measured for consecutive years, and only those ads where the ad size remained the same. Having more call tracked ads does increase the number of ads they could choose from, but the methodology used is not changed.

      You can disagree on whether the products are of value to an SMB or not, but the tracked ads do show a definite increase YOY on calls received. The research as also shown that one call from a print ad is 25 TIMES more valuable to that SMB that a click.

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  6. The walking fingers were genius years ago. Reviving them in a branding effort COULD be even more genius as we use them often with our phones and as Im typing this on my laptop. Im sure there could be a way to figure out a way for the fingers across all platforms (ie Print, Mobile, Laptop, Tablet)

  7. Emergency Shoe Shine

    Yeah…most of the calls are junk…it’s mostly other people selling other types of advertising callling…the rest are bottom feeders with no money…and don’t try to tell me otherwise Steve “O Sitton…

    • Most publishers do provide call tracking ads for advertisers who are at least at half page ads or larger. And the technology allows those incoming calls to be recorded. Having listened to many of those incoming calls over the years, if you get “bottom feeder” calls as you say, that’s NOT the norm so perhaps you need to take a serious look at the strcuture and content of your ad copy. Millions of advertisers wouldn’t be spending billion on ads if they were “junk” as you claim. Overall call tracking volumes are up YOY which is why most large advertisers are actually increasing their ad programs in these print yellow page products.

  8. Thanks for sharing. This is a great idea and I must also say that my experience most certainly disputes the myth that the Yellow Pages is no longer a viable product when used properly. Many years ago, as a young salesperson, I learned that I needed to know my customers strengths, weaknesses and goals in order to serve them properly. After a long career that has taken me all over the USA and Canada I find little has changed except that every customer gets bombarded with people pushing a wide variety of ways to reach potential customers. Some of the information thrown at our customers is misleading, incorrect and disingenuous. Going back to the basics of Yellow Page strength and clearly disputing erroneous claims has been overdue. Likewise, listening to your customer, understanding their business needs and capitalizing on the strengths of what the Yellow Pages can deliver needs to be kept front and center. Thank you and ADP for the efforts made to inform the public! Tim Hughes, Florida

  9. We all know that both print and online together achieve the best results.

    There is currently only one brand that can act as a catalyst and a “new” effort for all involved in a “Yellow” agenda – Yellow Search ®

    Let’s work together to make this a success for all in the industry.

  10. If this is done right…appealing to the masses in high visibility media, It will disturb the complacency of business owners and the public. Public opinion is hard to break and the opinion is “Print is Dead”. It’s gone from ” I HAVE to be in the Yellow Pages” to ” I HAVE to have a website ( Facebook, etc) so I can be found online!”.
    The best selling tool is that 70% of America’s disposable income is controlled by Boomers (1946-1964). That’s a gold mine for advertisers and YP companies.
    That demographic is the heaviest and most consistent as far as first place to look for ready-to-buy. Combine that with digital offerings and it doesn’t get any better for businesses than that.
    The problem foreseen is the campaign to combat the “virus of misperception” will not be effective – like “Get an Idea”.

    • Jay:

      Good comments and it will be interesting to see if this new effort can be sustained long enough and hard enough to overcome that high level of misperception. The clock is ticking….

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