Having lost confidence in the Yellow Pages to drive business, small businesses were leaving the directory. Yellow Pages needed to change advertiser perceptions or risk a 30 percent decline in business. Clemenger BBDO & Proximity, Melbourne, thus set out to re-establish a belief in the value of Yellow Pages as an advertising medium, and deliver 20,000 new business leads into the Yellow Pages sales force throughout the selling cycle.
To restore faith in the effectiveness of the Yellow Pages, Clemenger BBDO & Proximity created a pizza restaurant hidden in an abandoned building. The only place its correct details were advertised were in the Yellow Pages. The agency distributed letter-box flyers promising free pizza, and people familiar with Yellow Pages found the restaurant's phone number and called in. Call centre operators then collected marketing information and texted customers address details and a unique code providing access. Hidden cameras filmed the diners, who could later visit a website to view the footage, pulling it into their Facebook newsfeed if desired. After two weeks, the restaurant closed and it was revealed as a Yellow Pages stunt. The agency then launched a national advertising campaign using footage from the restaurant that was aired on TV, radio, and used in print and digital executions.
The campaign was a success on multiple levels. According to TNS, it significantly shifted advertiser perception, demonstrating an 87.5 percent change in perceived value of the Yellow Pages compared to the brand's previously most successful campaign. It also had a significantly stronger impact (130 percent increase) on brand perceptions that influence decision making. It influenced 60 percent of an advertiser's future decision to buy Yellow Pages advertising, and the campaign generated more than the hoped-for 20,000 sales leads. Ultimately, the campaigned delivered an impressive ROI of $10.80 for every dollar spent.