The campaign, designed by WPP Group's Mediaedge:cia and created by GSD&M Idea City in Austin, Texas, will eventually add viral media and local search. It already taps television and online ads.
Matt Crowley, Yellowpages.com CMO, says the push plays into the company's initiative to help advertisers reach consumers across cellular phones, online and television ads. He says it is part of parent company AT&T's three-screen strategy to provide services not offered by other Internet-based business-to-business or business-to-consumer search companies.
Yellowpages.com, for example, offers mobile ads as part of its package of services, along with video business profiles. Consumers can download and share the video, which acts as a widget, or post to other sites.
The television channel 97 on AT&T's U-verse service lets consumers search for local businesses, too. Search capabilities for mobile, online and television allow Yellowpages.com advertisers reach more consumers on a variety of devices.
Taking advantage of AT&T's partnership with Apple as part of that strategy, Yellowpages.com designed a cell phone application for the iPhone that lets consumers find and share business information based on local search. The application built on Apple's software development kit launched July 10.
Apple iPhone demonstration kiosks at AT&T Mobility and Apple retail stores promote the free-for-download-to-consumers app. Flyers in the stores tell consumers where to find them. AT&T also preinstalled a software application, known as a client, on select phones available in its stores.
The software client lets consumers access Yellowpages.com on their handset. "The search feature is on millions of devices today, but it will reach tens of million by the end of the year," Crowley says. "The preinstalled applications and special treatment from Apple in AT&T stores makes a huge difference in the amount of traffic we can drive through mobile applications."
Apple reported selling more than 1 million iPhone 3G handsets just three days after it became available in its retail and AT&T Mobility stores. Tina Teng, iSuppli analyst, estimates that Apple will sell 8.8 million 3G iPhones this year.
This is good news for Yellowpages.com, especially on weekends when mobile traffic reaches peak use. The company typically experiences double-digit searches from consumers on handsets during those two days. "In many cases [these searches come] through the mobile application as well as our Web site," Crowley says.
As for rival Yellowbook.com, customers are rapidly moving to upgrade their advertising to reach consumers through video and mobile ads, according to the company's CMO Gordon Henry. "We began testing video ads earlier this year and started rolling them out this summer," he says. "The sales force and some business-to-business advertising will highlight the service to customers, but there won't be a national media campaign. We tend to use national media to talk about the brand, not a specific service."
The billboard is running in five markets: Atlanta, Orlando, St. Louis, Detroit, and Sacramento.
Yellowpages.com has more than 140 million searches per month and was ranked No. 26 in comScore's top 100 URLs for May 2008.
Mobile searches have increased more than 50% from September 2007 to March 2008.