“Phone calls are the new page views,” said J. Scott Hamilton, President and CEO of VoodooVox, during his opening remarks as he kicked off his company’s first annual In-Call Media Summit.
Uh-huh. One panel, which included an ex-Virgin Mobile exec, editors from the blog TechCrunch and someone from Adweek describe the service as a method through which “consumers gain value by agreeing to listen to advertising, and in return, advertisers are able to target highly defined direct markets.”
First of all, we talked about start up service (with the worst name ever), Xipto, a a year ago , where we described the idea as horrid, but genius. Sure, let a self selecting amount of customers listen to ads to knock off money from their phone bill. Alternatively, customers can also have an ad play instead of the “ringing tone” when you call them. We can see college kids and those strapped for cash going in for this, but… think of the new social structure this will create. It’s be a status symbol. (i.e. “Oh god… I’m so not going on date with this chick. She has a soap ad playing when you call her.”
There’s also the danger of people texting folks who they know have an ad instead of a “ringing tone” in place. Who the hell wants to be marketed to? Imagine: “Dude. Call me. I am so not listening to that ad for car insurance when I call you. Sux.”
VooodooVox (another terrible name) does it a little differently. They say that they are addressing: “ever-increasing hold times that frustrate all callers on a daily basis. Through the VoodooVox In-Call Network, high-call volume industries such as call centers can replace stale “your call is important to us” messages with a regularly updated choice of audio content that makes hold times more palatable and improves caller satisfaction.”
Really? Customers are going to find being marketed to more palatable why they are WAITING for a customer service person. Um… think that one through guys. The consumer is already pissed waiting for their tech guy or their airline reservation specialist when they hear an ad for say, life insurance. This is going to make their life better? Really?
Also, yeah. Don’t most people just put that call on speaker phone and engage in another activity while they wait? They’re just waiting to here the real live person’s voice. Are they really absorbing your message? Advertising through osmosis has worked before I guess, but sheesh… this idea needs a little bit of a better sell methinks. What do you think?