Save Money. Dial Up An Ad.

If you want to save money, erase 1-800-555-1212 from your memory.

Not long ago, the price of a cup of coffee got you a phone number from directory assistance. Now, calling 411 will nick you for the price of a Starbucks coffee.
But take heart. A new crop of 800 services is offering free directory assistance. The catch: You first have to listen to a commercial for up to 15 seconds.
The newest of the three entrants, 1-800-411-SAVE, is launching nationwide Tuesday after trials in Chicago and San Francisco.
Typical landline directory-assistance from the big phone companies costs $1.25 a call, but out-of-region listings are often $1.99 and can range as high as $3.49, says Kathleen Pierz of the Pierz Group, a research company. A wireless 411 call generally costs $1.50.
In the mid-1990s, directory assistance typically cost about 35 cents.
As landline call volumes, including 411, have plunged, carriers have boosted 411 prices to grow or stabilize revenue

About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am now head of brand strategy and creative direction at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.