The Yellow Pages in 1987
Posted: February 9, 2007
I was studying the local telephone directory this week in an effort to compile a list of potential subscribers and/or advertisers and I noticed how so many new types of businesses spend more money advertising in the Yellow Pages than they ever spent in the past.
I moved to Eau Claire nearly 20 years ago. In fact, Mother's Day weekend this May will mark my 20th anniversary of living in the Chippewa Valley. I thought it would be interesting to go back and compare the 1987-88 local phone directory with this year's publication.
The Ameritech Pages Plus in 1987 featured no full-page advertisements. This year's 2006-07 AT&T Yellow Pages features the same number of attorney listings as it did 20 years ago, but the most recent directory has three, two-page ads, three one-page advertisements and a full-page, four-color insert promoting legal services.
(I could only make an educated guess at to how much the average law office spends to advertise in the telephone book).
In the 1987 Eau Claire-Chippewa Falls telephone directory, there were listings for 27 chiropractic offices, 12 veterinary clinics, 17 glass companies and 12 businesses that specialize in signage. Two decades later, there are 71 headings for chiropractors, 24 animal clinics, 23 glass-related businesses and 18 sign companies.
Surprisingly, the current 408-page telephone directory is only four pages larger than the commercial directory was in 1987. That is despite the fact that this year's phone book has eight pages of coupons and a number of multi-page advertising features. Plus, the Ameritech Pages Plus in 1987 mostly listed businesses in Eau Claire and Chippewa Falls. Now the same directory lists companies from throughout the Chippewa Valley.
One could make the argument that the more modern telephone directories have used smaller print each year. This allows the phone company to maintain the size of its directory, but still include much more information and advertising. Fortunately, that makes my job easier to find new customers who apparently have plenty of money to spend in the annual phone book.