RIP Yellow Pages: As the British institution goes digital, we relive its best ads
Dropped through the letterbox, or left on the doorstep, of almost every home in the UK since 1966, the Yellow Pages will always have a special place in British hearts. However, after 51 years in production, this hallowed tome is no more.
In the age of the internet, the Yellow Pages directory of local services has become outdated. For many, it became known simply as a free doorstop, or as a small step for those trying to grab something just out of reach. Over the years its pages thinned and now the company plans to take its operation entirely online.
Yellow Pages owner, Yell – which is in turn owned by Hibu – has announced it will print a final 104 editions of the directory before going fully digital. The move is designed to “help a million businesses be found, chosen and trusted by more customers online by 2020.”
The first of its final editions will be distributed in Kingston from January, with the last copy going out in Brighton – the city it was first published in, in 1966.
“After 51 years in production Yellow Pages is a household name and we’re proud to say that we still have customers who’ve been with us from the very first Yellow Pages edition in 1966,” said Yell chief executive Richard Hanscott. “How many brands can say they’ve had customers with them for over 50 years?”
The Yellow Pages may have fallen out of popularity in UK households, but the company is still profitable. Yell is well aware that could change in the near future as many businesses also have an online presence.
“Like many businesses, Yell has found that succeeding in digital demands constant change and innovation,” continued Hanscott. “We’re well placed to continue to help local businesses and consumers be successful online, both now and in the future.”
Despite the end of Yellow Pages’ physical copies, we can look back on this once British mainstay through the excellent TV ads they’ve created over the years. The most memorable of which is an elderly man searching for a copy of his own book – Fly Fishing by J R Hartley.
Other gems include a party gone awry with a teen in need of a French Polisher…
An ad for a dog training service, featuring a trapped James Nesbit…
Or a rather brilliant tale of a disastrous haircut.
There’s even a heartfelt ad that shows an alternative use for the Yellow Pages around Christmas time.
However an ad for an incredibly messy bachelor whose home has been “burgled” takes the biscuit.