ICB Toll Free (800/888) News by: Judith Oppenheimer, Publisher, ICB Toll Free (800/888) News
Tuesday September 8 1998 at 04:43:25 PM EST


Twenty-four percent of television commercials contain a toll-free number; of those, 91% using the 800 prefix and 57% of which are vanity (numbers that translate into words for easy recall).

Berlington, VT US - (ICB TOLL FREE NEWS) Twenty-four percent of television commercials contain a toll-free number, 91% using the 800 prefix and 57% of which are vanity (numbers that translate into words for easy recall), according to a new Response Marketing Group study of TV advertising. A sign of Internet popularity, 19% of television commercials contain a World Wide Web address.

Overall, 37% of commercials feature either a toll-free number or an Internet address, or both. ``Television advertisers know the value of direct response,'' said David Greenhaus, President of Response. ``After seeing a commercial, consumers may be ready to learn more or to buy immediately. Without a direct response mechanism, they have no way of acting on their impulse.''

Seventy-nine percent of commercials with toll-free numbers display the number prominently, the study found. Forty percent emphasize the number with a voice-over by an announcer. Only 19% of the commercials featuring toll-free numbers are time sensitive (``act now'' or ``limited time'').

The Response study, Toll-free Numbers in Television Advertising, monitored seven networks for over a month, analyzing nearly 5,000 commercials airing during 170 hours of evening, news, sports, and morning programming.

Response Marketing Group has been providing marketing and telecommunications services since 1990. The principals of Response have over 30 years experience in the industry and are continually developing innovative ways for businesses to market their products and services.

Additional Findings:

The flood of 888 numbers has had little impact on TV commercials. ``Consumers have had 30 years to get familiar with 800,'' Greenhaus explained. ``They've only been exposed to 888 for the last two years -- advertisers see this as a big risk. They can't afford to gamble on consumers misdialing their phone numbers.''

The study also found that national advertisers are using vanity numbers more than numeric ones, and local advertisers use them about half the time. ``The public is most familiar with and accepting of vanity numbers,'' continued Greenhaus. ``They are also easiest to remember over the long term.''

Industries using toll-free numbers most often are real estate, telecommunications, and lodging, the study found. Game shows are the favored program. The top time slot is late afternoon/early evening. ``Toll-free numbers are no longer seen as a late night, hard-sell tactic,'' Greenhaus explained. ``They've come of age as an integral part of marketing and advertising.''

The study further found that 79% of 15 second commercials with toll-free numbers use vanity numbers, as do 75% of 30 second commercials. ``Advertisers know their numbers must be easy to remember to be effective,'' Greenhaus said.

Author/Correspondent's Profile: Judith Oppenheimer, Publisher, ICB Toll Free (800/888) News

Copyright 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998 All rights reserved by Rainbow Pages, Inc. Updated 6/1/99
Access Business Online's Daily Business Newspaper