Verizon Campaign to Promote SuperPages

Verizon Information Services — the yellow-pages arm of the telecom giant — is aiming to boost awareness for its on- and offline yellow pages, SuperPages, with a sizable new advertising campaign.

The new “Better pages for better decisions” campaign, created by Interpublic’s Deutsch (which won the account in March) aims for the funny bone to reposition Verizon’s SuperPages as less of a “yellow pages” and more of a trusted advisor.

“It will give us the opportunity to tell people that we’re part of Verizon [following GTE’s merger with Bell Atlantic], and number two, to combine the online product with print product under name SuperPages,” said Verizon Information Services’ Lisa Alexander, who is group manager for brand strategy.

That’s something of a break with the way yellow pages have advertised themselves, typically preferring instead to focus on breadth of information — their number of listings, number of ads, and so on.

“We have — between the yellow pages directory and its online sister product — the information people need to make better life decisions … that’s a place that no one in our category has been before,” Alexander said. “No one has been able to translate that in to bigger picture of ‘what’s in it for me,’ for the consumer.”

As a result, Deutsch’s campaign focuses on painting a darkly humorous picture of how using SuperPages and SuperPages.com can ease a person’s life, without adding to the clutter of information sources already available.

“For us to go on bandwagon and say we’re another information source could … be just adding to the heap of information overload,” Alexander said. “But instead, we’re saying ‘yes, we have information, but there’s a benefit for you, because it helps simplify your life.'”

Verizon is making sure to give equal weight to branding SuperPages.com along with its print version, Alexander said.

“We’ve tried very hard to create equal awareness,” she added. “A key driver toward our future success is in the dot-com, so we’re going to a lot of emphasis to support it.”

Online components of the campaign include a banner ad buy as well as a promotional and sweepstakes element, designed to drive traffic to the site in addition to boosting brand awareness.

One television spot of the campaign’s three has TV canine hero Lassie rescuing Timmy, helping a farmer, and so on. Tiring of the relentless pace of her rescues, Lassie uses SuperPages.com to look up “Pet Adoption.” The last scene of the spot shows Lassie reclining on a couch in an luxurious Upper East Side apartment, where her most arduous task is finishing her caviar.

“She gets herself out of a bad situation by using the product to get to a better life,” Alexander said.

Similarly, a second spot features a woman relaxing in an inner-tube on vacation. But as the scene pans out, the viewer sees a shark fin approaching, a la Jaws. But pan up, and the spot shows a computer mouse opting for “ski trip” instead of a tropical holiday.

One of the campaign’s four radio spots has an ancient Roman family contemplating a trip to Pompeii — and thinking the better of it after using SuperPages.com.

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