THE BLOG

The End Of A Yellow Era

20/09/2017 14:43 BST | Updated 20/09/2017 14:44 BST

The Yellow Pages, a directory like no other and not just because of its sunshine tone. It's the holy grail to find any type of business from accountants to window cleaners and when I think about it, something that has been in my life for all 27 years and been gracing doorsteps for even longer than that, just over half a century to be precise.

The thought of the yellow spine with the famous walking fingers logo evoke memories as so well demonstrated by the 1992 Christmas campaign - a rather tall stack of them skimmed by coats, next to the shoe rack in the hallway cupboard. As well as proving helpful away from its primary role, it had other domestic duties including using it to flatten homework, as a door stop and of course using out of date issues for arts and crafts.

So when I found out that from 2019 this iconic printed directory will be no more as it makes its transition to digital-only, I was surprised to be met with feelings of sentiment. While it is ethically difficult, as the strong eco-warrior within me thinks, "at last, this has been a long time coming", the soppy siren in me can't help but see it as losing the sense of a generation.

Aside from the environmental concerns, being a millennial also means I see the tome as outdated and old fashioned but that doesn't mean it's not endearing. It really is old school, it perfectly showcases the way our parents did things before everything was available at the click of a button. A simpler time we could still relate too, an insight into generation Y's way of life before digitalisation.

It shows that there was actual effort and time required when you needed something and the discontinuation signifies that we will be entering a world of even more instant expectation, while losing characteristics like patience.

It really is the end of an era, not only nostalgically or as one that simply signifies the further advances of the digital takeover but also for the world of advertising. The adverts are iconic and ones that influenced a generation of advertising. Even uttering the name J. R. Hartley will immediately bring everyone back to the famous 1983 advert about the elderly gentleman in search of the Fly Fishing book, who after several failed attempts at second hand book stores is able to track it down through the Yellow Pages, with the twist being that Mr Hartley is in fact the author. A touching message that you can see resonates three decades later. Or the French Polisher coming to the rescue of a teen following a party which left the family table damaged. A story echoed by the latest Tesco's Food Stories, where a young man is cooking an apology breakfast for his parents following a big party. Who can forget the timeless Christmas advert of the little boy's festive wish coming true, using a pile of directory's so that he can reach the girl for a kiss under the mistletoe. These adverts and in turn the Yellow Pages drew upon connections every single directory-user could have.

The Yellow Pages has been a permanent fixture in UK households for over 50 years and as the adverts illustrate every search has a story to tell whether practical or sentimental. It is strange to think that it will soon be a thing of the past, joining the club that public telephones, faxes and CDs are already members of.

Although the physical Yellow Pages will no longer be the heart-warming tale of J. R. Hartley will remain.