• If anyone in San Bruno reported smelling gas to Pacific Gas & Electric Company before the explosion last week, please contact the NTSB.
  • Anyone who sees the man suspected of kidnapping a child from Oakland is asked to call the Oakland Police Department.
  • Call us for your business’ financial needs.
  • For more information about the church picnic, contact the Hospitality Chair.

All of these public-service/small business/non-profit announcements obviously were not created by an advertising person.  They leave the listener without clear instructions. None have a phone number, email, or other immediate contact information.

Just watch, listen or read communications written by big-business marketers.  They all say “Call 1-800….” or visit “www.ozdachs.biz”.  The contact information is repeated one, two, three or more times.  You know what you’re supposed to do and how to do it!

Some corporations even name themselves with the way to reach them. You’ve heard of “1-800-FLOWERS” and Kars for Kids, with its ear-worm jingle to “call 877-Kars-4-Kids.”  That’s how professional ad people craft their call to action!  [By the way, before you consider donating to Kars4Kids, check out the fraud investigations and Charity Navigator report showing that they spend 33% of their money for “fundraising expenses”.]

In the commercial world, businesses spoon feed potential customers.  They make it pig-brain-dead simple to do what the business wants you to do.  There’s nothing for you to look up or even think about.  Just go over in your commerical-induced trance and call, type, or click.

The examples we started with are all well meaning notices, but they require the listener to do research.  Some people are both very motivated and skilled at figuring out what to do.  They’ll will work to become involved.  But,  why make it so hard.

Let’s rewrite our first examples… and make sure that our future calls to action make it easy for people to do what we want.

  • If you reported smelling gas to Pacific Gas & Electric Company before the explosion last week, please call the National Transportation Safety Board at (202) 314-6000. Again, please report your call to the NTSB at (202) 314-6000. [Note: the NTSB web site is truly user hostile and there may be a better number. The site has no notice about San Bruno on its home page and no separate contact information for its pipeline safety work.]
  • If you see this kidnapping suspect, call 9-1-1 immediately.
  • Call 800 860-9660 and talk to a Sterck Kulik O’Neill accountant to solve your business’ financial issues. That’s 800 860-9660.
  • For more information about the church picnic, call Bob Smith at 415.776.4580.