Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Thing That Drives Me Crazy #732

Companies that use cute phrases instead of numbers for their phone number in marketing materials:

Like...
1-800-EAT-CAKE
1-866-BUY-GUNK
1-888-HOO-TERS

This strategy used to be helpful. If I forgot my favorite bakery's phone number, I could remember "EAT CAKE", convert the letters to numbers and bingo! I'm ordering my brownies.

However, recently two problems have popped up that put a big wrench in this marketing strategy:
1) multiple toll-free prefixes
2) mobile phones

Item 1) simply confuses the issue. Even if I remember "EAT CAKE", I have to remember whether the prefix is "800" or "866" or "888". Or maybe just try them all. Kinda defeats the purpose of the cute name. And starts the crazy-driving process.

Item 2) has two sub-problems:
a) Why would I need to remember a phone number? If this is indeed my favorite bakery, I'm damn-well going to have the number on speed-dial, or in my Contacts (if I have a cool PDA phone). Who actually memorizes a phone number anymore?
b) All the mobile phones I've owned do not have the corresponding letters on the phone-dialing number keys! Can you tell this is the problem I've had recently? You saw it coming, didn't you? When this happens, I am dead in the water. I cannot dial the number until I look on a land-line phone or surf the Internet for "phone keypad letters" (Thank the gods for Wikipedia, yet again!)

Give me numbers, not cute phrases!

3 comments:

Cagey said...

Yes - I HATE phone numbers like that.

Don't you have a Treo? There is a button for getting to a regular dial pad.

Sully Sullivan said...

Man, my girlfriend insists on getting a "spell number" whenever she changes her phone number, which is actually a lot more frequent than normal since she moves around a lot. Anyhow, what she fails to realize is that everyone owns cell phones these days (which you insightfully pointed out). Marketers will realize their mistakes real soon. All the major companies have abandoned this strategy long ago.

http://yeahtotallyright.blogspot.com

boardman said...

you said "thank the godS" - does that mean you're not following the teachings of Gaius?