A company claims to have come up with a ’revolutionary’ incentive
for consumers to part with personal information in the shape of a ’free’
Integrated Global Communications, an independent company, is joining
forces with the telecoms operation, RSL.Com, in the venture.
The phonecard, worth between pounds 3 and pounds 50 in calls for the
consumer, would be included in direct mailings. The recipient would have
to answer up to nine questions over the phone before being able to use
The phonecard can be customised to incorporate a company or product logo
and to play a message from a sponsor every time it is used.
The top 60 through-the-line advertisers have received a mailout
detailing the concept.
Harvey Ellingham, the sales and marketing director for IGC, said the
response rate for the cards was between 45 and 60 per cent. He added
that advertisers would be credited against future orders for any cards
Industry reaction to the cards has been mixed. Mark Patron, managing
director of the market research company, Claritas, described the concept
as ’brilliant,’ adding that it was an idea Claritas had itself
However, he questioned its financial viability. ’Every time we’ve looked
at this route, we haven’t been able to make the numbers work,’ he
Although Claritas uses coupons and other incentives to encourage
response to mailshots, the costs fall well below that of subsidising
But John Quarrey, managing director of IMP, welcomed the idea: ’Its
primary value would be to target people who are never going to fill in a
questionnaire in a million years.’