Yell Narrows List in Agency Search

Yell Group has long been known in the U.K. for the quality of its advertising, standing out in a category that has generally produced some interesting and funny commercials over the years. Yell is now in the position of finding a new partner to help it keep its brand ubiquitous in the U.K.

Yell has just narrowed the list of advertising agencies it is considering to replace Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, which held the Yell account for 23 years before resigning in April because of a conflict with another big client, British Telecom. The agency declared the two relationships were in conflict since BT is back in the business of publishing classified directories through its BT Phone Book unit.

The four agencies (of an original six applicants) Yell is now looking at are Mother, United London, Vallance Carruthers Coleman Priest and Wieden & Kennedy. Yell has done well with AMV, establishing the Yellow Pages as an iconic brand in the U.K. through a series of humorous ad campaigns, most recently featuring the actor James Nesbitt. Last year that campaign was expanded to address Yell's full family of products, including its print, Internet and voice directory services.

The recently completed Competition Commission review of the rate regulation Yell currently operates under included consideration of other measures to curtail Yell’s standing in the U.K. directory market in the interest of fostering competition. One of the measures considered (but not pursued) was to curtail Yell’s ability to promote its product through advertising.

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