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SOUTHLAND BUSINESS

More-Than-Yellow Pages

July 20, 1986|DENISE GELLENE

If a Purchase, N.Y., publishing company has its way, the Yellow Pages are about to become a lot more colorful. Donnelley Information Publishing, part of Dun & Bradstreet's Reuben H. Donnelley publishing unit, said it will print full color advertisements in its San Diego and Los Angeles 1987 area Yellow Pages directories. Donnelley claims that Yellow Page users respond better to color ads, based on test marketing in Champaign, Ill.

William Bak, president of Donnelley Information Publishing, said the company would spend between $3 million and $4 million to promote its 1987 Yellow Pages this year, about one-half of what Pacific Bell is expected to spend. Bak doesn't think the difference is so significant. "We think the battle will be won not in television and newspaper ads, but in homes. We want to be the book people use first," he said.

So do dozens of other companies, including Pacific Bell, which makes the most widely disseminated Yellow Pages in California. Marge Gorang, Yellow Pages product manager for Pacific Bell, said the company is evaluating the use of color for its 1988 telephone directories. Currently, the only color Pacific Bell offers is red, which has been "very successful," Gorang said.

Donnelley is promoting the color ads to capture a greater share of the lucrative but highly competitive Yellow Pages business, which is estimated to be worth almost $1 billion in California. About 200 different directories are distributed in Southern California and Donnelley publishes 27 directories in the Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco and Sacramento areas.

Donnelley, which has printed phone books under contract with AT&T subsidiaries in the East for years, started publishing books under its own name here and in Texas, Oklahoma and Florida after the 1984 court-ordered breakup of AT&T. It is the third-largest publisher of telephone directories in California, behind Pacific Bell and General Telephone.

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