Monday, May 16, 2011

Yellow Pages Campaign: A Brilliant tool, Case-Study and Read

"Anyone can achieve sales, but unless you can quantify against a longer-term vision as opposed to a campaign vision then it doesn’t deserve Platinum.”

These were the words of a judge--Rob Campbell of Weiden & Kennedy--at the Asian Marketing Effectiveness Festival 2011. He was referring to the top 'platinum' prize which was awarded along with additional prizes to Clemenger BBDO & Proximity, Melbourne for it's Yellow Pages Australia campaign. 'How hiding a restaurant proved that Yellow Pages worked better than ever' for Yellow Pages Australia. The campaign won gold in the Best integrated marketing campaign, Most innovative use of media and Best idea categories. 

More importantly than the awards though was that this brand achieved it's lofty goal of integrating longer term visions into a singular campaign. 

Yellow Pages phone directory has had it's roots in print.  The challenge was to really strengthen the perception that it still has value. The consequences of failure you ask? How about a drop of say 20 to 30% of total sales in one year and more than likely a continued downward spiral.  

Needless to say, the campaign results were fantastic and their prospects are much better now. How was this done? Well you can read here for all of the details but basically the premise was to highlight the brand's worth and really increase the perception of value it offers. Yellow Pages had already aligned itself with Google`s search directory and was being used by 4.5 million Aussies a week. Value was there but did enough younger people know and understand it?

A plan was hatched and the goal was to exhibit value through the execution of the following:

Yellow Pages created a pizza restaurant and intentionally situated it in a hard to find basement of an abandoned building. Flyers offering consumers free pizza were distributed however the only place the details were listed was in the Yellow Pages. Hidden cameras were used to film customers at the pop-up restaurant. Afterwards a branded TV campaign was launched using the content captured from the restaurant, with radio and digital ad support. 

The results spoke for themselves: 

1) Created 20,000 new business leads during the April-September selling cycle
2) Exceeded lead targets by 15%
3) Generated an ROI of $10.8 for every $1 of marketing spend
4) It was Yellow Pages' most effective-ever advertiser-targeted campaign and succeeded in     shifting perceptions of the brand as outdated    

This award was wholly deserved on many fronts including the effective mix and leveraging of both new and old media, creating genuine cut-through and WOM. It was  also a great use of something I preach fairly often in this blog which is connecting both the physical and digital worlds in innovative manners for true penetration and spread. 

In getting back to the opening lines of this post which note that any brand can go for sales and short term gains, the trick for creating 'true success' as this campaign illustrates is in keeping the longer term objectives and brand health in mind. It is fair to say that Yellow Pages certainly balanced the vision of a longer term goal whilst also capturing it's fair share of buzz and excitement in this singular campaign.

For those of you who have these challenging roles of maintaining the integrity of a brand and it's perception over the long haul, I highly recommend this Yellow Pages example as a great tool and case-study. It surely contains all major advertising ingredients for creating a successful campaign that will deliver for longer than two to three months and will greatly enhance the prospect of ensuring the longer term health and vitality of your brand.

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