Beware of 'Magazine Style' Yellow Pages Ad Design


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I have been doing Yellow Page design for the past 15 years. I have been fully submerged in the medium. Even as I sit here writing this article I have various Yellow Page directories from all over the US stacked on my desk.

It’s an art form, I tell you. Few comprehend its power. Few understand the subtle blend of art and science that combines to create the successful Yellow Page ad design . It takes a true connoisseur to understand the underlying psychology of a masterfully crafted Yellow Pages ad design.

Now I know what your thinking. This guy is off his rocker. Oh, but I disagree. I intend to plainly illustrate a very disheartening trend developing in our local neighborhood Yellow Pages. I call this trend—the rise of the dreaded ‘magazine style’ Yellow Pages ad.

Now I love magazines too. I like to leaf through my Forbes Magazine as I leisurely sit by the pool. I occasionally glance at the pages of Elle when my wife leaves it lying around. I’ve even been known to flip through the pages of Wired when I’m ready for the latest rant on how Star Wars has changed the world. But when I turn to my local Yellow Pages the last thing I’m ready to face is the pages of Cosmopolitan.

With the recent rise of readily available, cheaply commissionable, Yellow Page ad design services it would seem our Yellow Pages are turning into a ‘magazine style’ nightmare.

Now I’m not saying your ad should be as ugly as your Yellow Pages advertising sales rep wants to make it, but if your Yellow Page ad is turning into an Ansel Adams exhibition, and your selling air conditioners there is something wrong here. I know, I said Yellow Page ad design is an art, but what I meant by art was the kind of Yellow Page ad that ultimately leads to someone buying something from you.

It’s like Trump calls it—the art of the deal. That’s the kind of art you are looking for in your Yellow Pages advertising. It’s the art of getting peoples attention, and not loosing it a half second later when they can’t figure out what it is your selling. I mean, the heading says ‘Plumbing’ but with all these baby pictures it looks more like a Daycare heading. Which one of these guys is a plumber?

These clever ads may be all the rage as I’m sipping my cocktail by the swimming pool, but when I’m looking for a reason I should buy from you instead of your competitor, trying to baffle me with a clever picture that makes me think some Yellow Page flunky lost his job when he mistakenly pasted a Daycare ad in Plumbing, is not the way to do it. Yeah, you got my attention. Am I calling? Sure. I’m calling your competitor.

Nobody has the time to decipher your cute ‘magazine style’ Yellow Pages ad. Captivating your audience is important, making your Yellow Page ad design distinctive is paramount, but confusing people can make your Yellow Page advertising useless.

I have learned over the years to even steer clear of ‘magazine style’ layout for fear of lack-luster results. Many directories have phone company traps set up with 3 or 4 pages of these ‘magazine style’ Yellow Page ads for there own products and services. Yellow Page shoppers learn to tune them out quickly.

Stumble through 4 full-page full-color ‘magazine style’ Yellow Pages ads under ‘Publishing’ while you’re on your way to the ‘Printing’ heading and you quickly learn what not to look for. Phone company traps can be set up under Advertising, Communications, Publishing, Internet, Telecommunications—always just a few pages away from where your Yellow Page ad is going to call home.

While magazine ads can be very entertaining, who doesn’t like PacBell’s cross-eyed dog that is guaranteed to be under seven headings of any given PacBell directory, the important thing to remember is Yellow Page shoppers are not there to be entertained—they are there to buy. Hopefully from you!

So be warned, from the desk of a 15 year veteran in the Yellow Page ad design field, if you are expecting great results with that clever, not so clever, magazine style Yellow Page ad design you are running this year, you might find yourself sadly disappointed.

There are better ways to grab people’s attention with your Yellow Page advertising, AND get them to buy from you. Never sacrifice your company’s sales for magazine style Yellow Page advertising.

Adam Strange
Ad Revamp – Professional Yellow Page Ad Design
Adam Strange is a successful illustrator and ad designer with over 15 years experience in the graphic arts and advertising fields. He's helped countless companies and small business owners place successful Yellow Pages advertising campaigns through his companies, Ad Revamp - Yellow Page Ad Design , and Premium - Yellow Page Advertising . For more helpful tips on getting the most from your company’s Yellow Pages advertising please visit these web sites.


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