Jose Canseco, Pepsi-Cola, The Who and the American Red Cross all know a good thing when they see it.
All have turned to the relatively new _ and booming _ marketers of 900 phone lines as a means of getting a message across to the public.In Canseco's case, it was a money-making marketing effort. Callers who were gluttons for punishment plunked down a couple of bucks to hear Mr. Porsche himself drone on about his record, his speeding tickets, his cars.
Pepsi and The Who have used the lines to snare callers who want to hear music and product information.
And for the Red Cross, the 900 line was a matter of helping people assist with disaster relief. Callers heard news about the San Francisco earthquake and Hurricane Hugo, and when they dialed they also donated $20 to the Red Cross ($17.65 of that went directly to relief efforts.)
The pay-per-call 900 phone lines emerged in March of 1988, and they've rapidly grown in popularity among marketers and advertisers. This year, the "audiotext" business generated $750 million in calls; by 1995, that number is expected to boom to $6 billion, according to industry sources. "It doesn't matter if you're marketing a movie, or a magazine or a toothpaste. It allows you, if you're an advertiser, to buy a 30-second spot on national television and then use it to hook people, to get them to make a call," says Peter Brennan, vice president of the New York-based Telephone Entertainment Network. "And when you've got them on the phone, you've got them for two minutes."