Badland: Using DTMF tones in radio ads, very clever but not new.


Here's a fun pair - the ad for Amsterdam Arena claims to be the first ad that dials a phone, and as we know here in Badland never say that you're the first, you'll jinx it. Of course someone else has already been clever enough to use DTMF tones in radio ads making the ad dial the phone. Here's an example from Radioactive L.A back in 2003.


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Cute, right?

And here's the supposed "first", for Amsterdam Arena. The voice sounds like he's doing his best to channel a bit of Jemaine Clement's funny&sexy as he entices the listener to go get their phone.

Yeah, that works too. But as we were discussing this on adlist, Jordan offered this tidbit:

The internet-porn king in Seattle, who's name escapes me, got his start by buying informercial time at Christmas, a kids-talk-to-Santa show. He got kids to hold the phone up to the TV, which toned in the number at $9 a minute. And this was in the early 90s.
Evil genius.

More source - Sex Sells - Wired

Though they like to present themselves as a multibillion-dollar industry as deserving of respect as any other, they still glory in tales of past scams - like the legendary "Here Comes Santa" infomercial, often attributed to Joel Eisenberg, which ran on a Seattle television station in December 1989. The setup was worthy of the most devilish phone phreak: put a guy in a Santa suit on TV and have him tell the kiddies they can talk to Santa personally if they hold their telephone receivers up to the set - just as it emits a tone that connects them, for a hefty toll. The television station knocked Santa off the air 10 minutes into the show when its switchboard lit up with calls from enraged parents, but still ...

Moral of the story: porn was always there first.

about the author

Dabitch Creative Director, CEO, hell-raising sweetheart and editor of Adland. Globetrotting Swede who has lived and worked in New York, London, San Francisco, Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Stockholm.

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