If you’ve ever watched television or listened to the radio, you’ll know that advertisers love to use toll-free numbers to imprint your memory, in hopes it will lead to you patronizing their business.

These toll-free numbers are typically linked to what the business is about or related to a well-executed marketing campaign.

Whether it is a series of numbers set to a song with a catchy melody, or just a visually-appealing set of digits that are unforgettable, some of these toll-free phone numbers take on a life of their own.

For businesses that want to get in on the action, it’s helpful to know that these are known as “vanity numbers.”

They are specifically designed to grab a potential customer’s attention while the commercial is playing and stick around in the back of your subconscious long after the show you were listening/ watching comes back on.

In other words, a marketer’s dream come true! In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the most famous numbers from commercials.

If you want to get your own toll free number, you should check out Global Call Forwarding which is also an international provider.


1 (800) COLLECT

As a marketer, you know you’ve done your job when your product or service is referred to as a catch-all noun or verb — think of handing someone a Kleenex or needing to Xerox a document. And there’s no better example of this than 1 (800) COLLECT.

At one time, AT&T was the dominant force in the collect-calling market, a process where the recipient of the call was charged to complete a phone call instead of the caller.

And the number required to do so with AT&T? Just dialing “0.” That’s it.

However, MCI decided to bust up this monopoly in 1993 with its aggressive and ubiquitous marketing campaign.

You may remember Mr. T and his catch-phrase “I pity the fool” being in a prominent commercial (with the before-Breaking Bad star Aaron Paul) yelling at viewers to call using MCI’s cheaper service.

Of course, collect calling eventually became a thing of the past when pay phones — the primary device used for collect calls — were usurped by the rise of mobile phones.

However, in its heyday, calling collect was as simple as remembering the ad slogans.


1 (800) MATTRES(s)

Do you like to sleep? Who doesn’t! And if you sleep, what better way to do so than with a comfortable mattress?

Light bulbs must have gone off in the heads of the marketing department for the Hicksville, New York mattress company when they launched 1 (800) MATTRES.

The only problem was that “mattress” is an 8-letter word — 800 numbers have only 7 digits, not 8. What’s a marketer to do? They decided to use this mismatch to their advantage and draw attention to the missing “s” in mattress.

Hence, the slogan “dial 1 800 M – A – T – T – R – E – S, and leave off the last ‘S’ for savings!” was born, eventually making Dial-A-Mattress (the company’s original name) the largest retailer of bedding in the United States.

At its peak in 2005, it had nearly $100 million in annual profits. Not bad for a little creative advertising, right?


1 (800) FLOWERS

Similar to the last example, there’s nothing better than using a toll-free number to sell your service and advertise the perfect way to reach your business in a single method.

Case in point: 1 (800) FLOWERS. Starting from the 1980s and continuing to the present day, there’s been no easier way to send flowers (and other gifts, including fruit baskets) to people than dialling this toll-free number.

So, you may be scratching your head and thinking, “This is all well and good, but how do I get a catchy phone number for my business?”

The answer is simpler than you think: get virtual phone numbers from a qualified service provider.

Virtual phone numbers route calls anywhere in the world directly to another phone number that you want (i.e. a call center, your sales team, etc.), meaning that you can encompass as broad an audience as your business can handle.

Best of all, virtual phone numbers come in a variety of types, including vanity phone numbers and toll-free numbers that can take your business’ marketing efforts to new heights.


About the Author

Tom Senkus is a freelance writer that frequently covers the history of telecommunications and successful marketing campaigns. For his full list of services and published works, visit www.tomsenkuswriter.com .