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Clever Ways to Use Toll Free Numbers

Jennifer Williams

Around here we’re big fans of toll free numbers. Seriously, sometimes we just sit around brainstorming new toll free numbers that we can use for things (I’m not even joking). Everyone probably has one thing they automatically think of when they hear “toll free number,” such as their favorite store to order from or the dreaded internet provider they have to call on a weekly basis, but you might not know about some other interesting ways people and brands use toll free numbers.

TV Show Competitions & Voting

From singers to dancers to… house dwellers, you can pretty much vote for any sort of reality TV show contestant using a toll free number. Some shows may have just one toll free number to use to vote, while others have one per contestant. For example, “American Idol” might own 855-IDOL-001 through 855-IDOL-020. You would then call the phone number ending in the number corresponding with your favorite contestant. Some other reality shows that use the toll free number voting method include:

  • America’s Got Talent
  • Big Brother
  • Dancing with the Stars
  • So You Think You Can Dance
  • Survivor
  • The Voice

Does your business run regular competitions or sweepstakes?  Do you use toll free numbers for voting or call-ins?

Movie & TV Easter Eggs

A recent trend in many movies and television shows is using real toll free numbers in the context of the movie/show that fans can call for special “extras.”

For instance, an 800 number showed up in an episode of "The Office" a few years ago, and if you called it you would get a message from a fictional "Office" related company called WB Jones Heating and Air Conditioning. On the message, a female reminds listeners to keep their thermostats at 67 degrees over the winter and 76 over the summer. "This will keep your home and yourselves comfortable, at the same time decreasing your family's carbon footprint. This makes for a happy planet, and a happy planet makes for happy people.”

On a special “How I Met Your Mother” Super Bowl episode which aired on CBS, Neil Patrick Harris’ character, Barney Stinson, showed up at the Super Bowl with a sign asking women to call his 877 toll free number. When called, Barney’s voicemail answered, saying:

“That, Lebron, is how you shoot a free throw. Hey, Barney Stinson speaking. A recording? No, this is really me! Anyway, glad you called 'cause you sound really special. Let's get to know each other. What are your hobbies? Oh my god, I like that too! Wow, I'm really feeling a connection here. You know, I never do this but what the heck. Let's meet up at MacLaren's Bar at oh, say, 3:45 a.m. on Monday, Oct. 12, 2016. I can't wait to meet you. I love you.”

The TV show “Scrubs” once included a phone number on their show that fans could call and actors from the show would occasionally answer and chat when they had the time.

What fun things could you do with your customers using toll free numbers?

Be Bill Murray

Apparently, instead of an agent, Bill Murray simply has an 800 number. How do you find it, and what happens when you dial it? It’s a long story. But like most Bill Murray stories, it ends with the actor warning, “No one will ever believe you.

Who would you replace with a toll free number?

Be Unforgettable

Vanity toll free numbers, e.g. 800-MATTRESS, 800-DENTIST, etc., are a fantastic way to ensure customers never forget your phone number. Some of the most memorable vanity 800 numbers we’ve heard of include:

  • 800-ABCDEFG (Hooked On Phonics)
  • 800-FLOWERS (
  • 800-GIANT-MEN (Gentle Giant Moving Company)
  • 800-IGO-HOJO (Howard Johnson’s)
  • 800-PORSCHE (Porsche)
  • 800-STAR-TREK (Star Trek Movies)
  • 800-TACO-BELL (Taco Bell)
  • 800-THE-ROOF (Red Roof Inn)
  • 800-WALGREENS (Walgreens Pharmacy)

FreedomVoice has a really cool vanity search tool that you can use to find the perfect vanity toll free number for your business.

If you could have any vanity toll free number, what would it be?

There are many more ways that toll free numbers can be used. For another great guide, check out this post over on the GoDaddy Garage Blog:Standing Out From The Crowd Is As Easy As 833. Stay tuned for next week’s blog post in which I talk about some of the more practical uses of toll free numbers.