JR Hartley for the 21st Century
Yellow Pages’ nostalgic recreation of their famous JR Hartley ad first aired in 1983 is flawed in many ways. I think anyone who saw the original ad when it was aired would have a fond memory of Mr Hartley traipsing around second hand bookshops looking for his book on fly fishing without success. Anyone would share his pride when his daughter hands him a Yellow Pages and he calls through the list of bookshops until he finds one that has it in stock and reveals that he is none other than Mr Hartley himself. I never questioned why he didn’t bother to keep a copy or why no bookshops, not even second hand ones, stocked it.
In the latest ad from Yellow Pages the premise is a 40 year old ex DJ looking for a copy of a trance record he made in his heydays. The ad follows the same story as the fly fisher as the interestingly named Day V Lately traipses round record shops. When he returns home his daughter suggests he uses a Yellow Pages app to track down his trance track. This ad is set in the present day. The day of the Internet. We are meant to believe that in the pursuit of his record, which he covets more than anything else, he is willing to walk around every record shop he knows but has not thought of searching for it on Google. He has not heard of Amazon, EBay or any other search engine and needs his daughter to suggest he use an app. This just doesn’t wash.
I also have an issue with the emotional connection. There is something endearing about an old man being reunited with a book he wrote long ago. He makes you think of your granddad and the sense of pride he would have in showing it to you when you next see him. I have no emotional connection with a 40 year old DJ looking for a record. I feel sorry for his daughter being made to listen to it!
At least the ad is nicely shot and well directed. All the staff in the real record shops play themselves which is a nice touch.