Creative impulse

For a pounds 2.6m one-off ad for Yellow Pages, to celebrate its 30th anniversary, Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO has taken characters and incidents from old news footage and linked them humorously to the directory's page headings. A beleaguered President Nixon appears under the caption "public relations", the pipe-smoking Harold Wilson under "air conditioning", and the sinking Cambridge boat-race crew under "damp proofing".The soundtrack is, fittingly, the original version of "Days", by the Kinks.

The client: Yellow Pages

Richard Duggleby, head of customer services

We wanted to celebrate this event to our advertisers, users and staff, so the challenge we set the agency was to find a piece of advertising to hit these three groups. Obviously, the users at home were hardly going to be celebrating this themselves, so what we wanted to do was show that the Yellow Pages is part of British life.

It is used 100 million times a month, and is part of our economic life- blood. We're the most effective directory in the UK, and we wanted a one- off ad to confirm we're there for our users - we were keen to venture outside the JR Hartley-type campaign here. But we still wanted to continue our long-running theme of Yellow Pages not being there just for the nasty things in life, like a blocked drain or leaky pipes.

The agency: Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO

Graham Brown, vice-chairman

It was unusual to have so many target audiences, and it was quite a challenge, but we were helped by the fact that it's now 30 years since England won the World Cup. With Euro 96 now in progress, this 30-year period is firmly in people's minds, and so the image of Bobby Moore you see in the ad was our starting point.

The idea was to take stock footage of key events during the last 30 years and juxtapose it with witty or unusual captions from the headings in the Yellow Pages. But we didn't want to spend all of our airtime being retrospective: we wanted to bring it right up to date, with the frame about our site on the Internet coming at the end.

The aim was to be light-hearted, and show things that people would remember if they were reminded of them. Some are monumental, of course, such as the moon landings or the Watergate scandal, but we've also included quirky events like the launch of the Sinclair C5.

The page headings aren't just there to form the jokes: they were also an important way of branding the ad, and of highlighting the usage categories of the Yellow Pages. We also put a yellow cover wash over the black-and- white footage, which again does two things - equalising the quality of the film and branding the images used.


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