Mon | Dec 10, 2018

Yello says hello to Ja through arts

Published:Sunday | March 26, 2017 | 12:00 AMMel Cooke
Lennox Coke, one of the artists behind the directory cover, posing beside his piece.
Ayanna Kirton (right), marketing manager at Yello Media Jamaica Limited, shares lens time with Danah Cameron, public relations and training officer, Jamaica Broilers Group.
Ian Neita, CEO, Yello Media Group, and wife Stephanie.

A week ago, Yello, the rebranded and revamped Yellow Pages telephone directory, was officially presented to the public at the Constant Spring Golf Club in St Andrew. The function was short on official speeches, with addresses by company executives, including head, Ian Neita, shown on a screen, which was the backdrop to the musicians who performed.

The arts were not restricted to song from bands like Skankin Funx and dance by Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts students, as there was also a painting display. The food had names - Dat Ting Dere for the pork, reminiscent of the Pluto Shervington song Dat, and there was also a dish named Bam Bam, the term famously used in song by Toots and the Maytals.

Ayanna Kirton, marketing manager of Yello Media (Jamaica Limited), told The Sunday Gleaner, that Yello's theme across its 19 markets regionally is 'We Know Local'. It is then made specific to particular markets, so in the land of wood and water, it becomes 'We Know Jamaica'.

Even more specifically, one slogan on the screen said, 'We Know Jamaica, as well as Jamaica Knows Reggae'.




Before guests got to the room where musical instruments were set up, they passed through a room where art pieces of Lennox Coke, Raymond Jackson, Karla-Michele Gauntlett and Esther Beckford, were on display. Coke did last year's dancehall themed cover, which caused consternation in some quarters, with an alternate cover eventually being released.. Kirton said the artists were commissioned to create artwork focusing on specific music genres, Coke doing dancehall, Jackson doing ska, and Gauntlett (assisted by Beckford) doing reggae.

"We decided to highlight what we consider one of Jamaica's greatest cultural contributions - our music," Kirton said.

The only directive was that the art "represented the genre through the eyes of the artists", Kirton said. The dancehall cover was eventually chosen from the submissions. "That one he did, we thought, best represented the spirit of the genre," Kirton said, noting the dancing in the ska submissions and Rastafari in those done to the reggae theme.

"With the dancehall cover, it takes you back to 1990s dancehall, to where an artiste like Shabba Ranks is performing to a receptive audience," she said.

At the launch, Skankin Funx included ska in their set, while Di Vide delivered rockers, and Camar Flavour went mostly dancehall.

That print edition is part of a three-pronged thrust by Yello, the other two being its website and mobile app. Kirton spoke about the website's modern interface and depth of information, such as, in some instances, if the organisation facilitates card transactions. In about a month, leading to the official launch, the website had 350,000 unique visits.

The mobile app will be launched shortly and there will be a revamped print directory in October 2017. For that cover, Kirton said the public will be asked to submit photographs, from which one will be chosen as the cover image.

"We have realised that even in this age of technological advancement, business and individuals have come to depend on the directory," Kirton said." We are very proud to have withstood several competitors."