Bucking Convention with Toll-Free – The Legend of Bill Murray’s 1-800-Number

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Tue, 06/19/2018

There are countless practical uses for Toll-Free Numbers – marketing, customer care, branding – you name it, Toll-Free can accomplish it.  But did you know that Toll-Free can also help you manage castings for Golden Globe-nominated films?

In 2000, the always irreverent, quintessential comedian Bill Murray famously fired his agents and managers and replaced them with none other than a Toll-Free Number.  Sounds crazy, right?  Not with the power of Toll-Free at your side!  Rather than a staff that tends to carry its own sets of biases, Murray relied on a neutral resource to field inquiries about film roles, appearances, and more.

Though the notion seems even more oddball than the actor himself, the concept is really quite strategic.  As St. Vincent director Theodore Melfi found out through contacting Bill Murray via Toll-Free, part of the purpose of utilizing a neutral number was to test a caller’s commitment and persistence. As he noted in an August 20, 2014 interview with Entertainment Weekly, “There’s a 1-800 number and you call that number until you’re blue in the face.”  Although it may seem tedious as the caller to continue to reach a recorded message, Murray’s strategy was very effective at driving user engagement and pushing his customer to continue the conversation.

Some call it oddball, others will call it enigmatic and genius.  Whichever way you see it, Bill Murray was able to push the limits of Toll-Free and find a new and interesting vehicle for facilitating conversations with his customers.  The story of his unique journey with Toll-Free will definitely live on as a Hollywood legend. 

Want to know more about how St. Vincent came to be?  Check out the full article referenced above at Zen and the art of casting Bill Murray in your movie,  courtesy of Entertainment Weekly.