Yellow Pages uses subway show to build momentum

Facing several competitors in the Boston area, Verizon Yellow Pages aims to differentiate itself by publishing three local versions covering Cambridge, MA; Brookline, MA; and Boston itself.

Facing several competitors in the Boston area, Verizon Yellow Pages aims to differentiate itself by publishing three local versions covering Cambridge, MA; Brookline, MA; and Boston itself.

To remind a younger demographic, ages 18 to 34, of the convenience of Yellow Pages for everything from planning weddings to apartment hunting, publisher Idearc sought to organize an event that would grab the attention of consumers and the media.

Strategy

Idearc called on Porter Novelli, and the team chose singer-songwriter Jewel, a recent American Idol guest judge, to put on a private concert for radio contest winners in a moving subway car on Greater Boston's "T" system. Traveling along the Green Line, Jewel arrived at South Station downtown at 6pm to put on a free, hourlong concert for the public.

Tactics

Jewel began the day giving interviews to Boston's major TV and radio stations and newspapers, including The Boston Globe and Boston Herald, with the singer promoting the Yellow Pages. "We worked with her to make sure she could be on target for all these messages," says Wendi Taylor Nations, MD of PN's Chicago office. Signage along the Green Line - dubbed the "Yellow Line" for the day - was redone in yellow, and as Jewel's car passed through each station, waiting passengers received subway tickets good for a free ride.

Results

While it's too soon to tell how many more Yellow Pages consumers the event generated, follow-up research showed more than 80% consumer awareness. Nearly all major media outlets in the area covered it, with four days of coverage in the Globe. "To get this kind of coverage was absolutely phenomenal," says Suzanne Franks, Idearc marketing director.

Future

"We would love to do more of these events," says Franks, though nothing definite is planned yet.

Idearc

PR team: Idearc (Dallas/Fort Worth Airport, TX), Porter Novelli (Chicago)

Campaign: Boston "T" Party

Duration: February 9, 2007

Budget: Less than $1 million

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