Thomson Directories promotes local focus

Thomson Directories is positioning itself as a slicker alternative to its larger, more comprehensive rivals with a new £4 million advertising campaign through Miles Calcraft Briginshaw Duffy.

The campaign kicks off on 16 August with a 40-second spot, in which its brand icon, the blue cat, is brought to life in the form of a catwoman.

In the spot, the cat is chased through a city by her arch-enemy, a big, lumbering, yellow dog, which represents other classified directories that service a larger area.

During the chase, the cat outsmarts the dog and is consistently more nimble than her rival. She also knows the immediate territory well.

Helen Calcraft, the managing director of MCBD, said: "When we were given the Thomson Local brief, we were really excited by its desire to be a true challenger brand and to take thought leadership in its sector. What we wanted to do was find something that was both true and differentiates the brand, and place this at the heart of the advertising, thereby giving consumers a clear motivating reason to reach for Thomson Local first."

The ad, the first to be developed by MCBD since it won the account in a four-way pitch in February, will be followed by a ten-second cutdown and a ten-second execution promoting the online offering

It targets a broad audience of all adults and will run on the national TV stations ITV1, Channel 4, five, digital and cable channels.

Media was planned and bought by The Media Shop.

Kendall Gordon, the marketing director of Thomson Directories, added: "We are delighted with this fresh new work from MCBD and are confident that it will firmly establish the Thomson Local brand and its print and online products as the smart choice."

The ad was written and art directed by Jeremy Carr, and directed by Blue Source out of Blink.

Thomson Local was launched in the UK in 1981. Since then, its advertising has featured its iconic blue cat in various guises including a cheeky cartoon character. Its most recent work, through the previous incumbent, Barnett Williams Partnership, featured a sleek blue cat.

The decision to appoint MCBD was part of a renewed push to increase the brand's share of the £700 million UK directories market. The company decided it needed to raise the brand's profile in the face of an increasingly cluttered directories market following the break-up of directory enquiries and the subsequent launch of several different services.

The relaunch of BT's The Phonebook, with an added classified directory section in addition to its residential listings, has also increased the pressure on existing operators in the market.

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