Kids today rack up charges on their parents’ iTunes accounts, but children of the ’80s, too, had ways to spend surreptitiously. When unsuspecting moms and dads weren’t getting solicited by collection agencies for unpaid Columbia House
bills, they were being billed by hotlines advertised during Saturday morning cartoon blocks. Tapping into nostalgia for said hotlines, a rash of creative projects has people using their phones for more than texting and apps.
VFILES Toll-Free Hotline:
Glossy V Magazine
has been artfully, and intelligently, covering fashion and popular culture for 13 years. This spring, V is launching VFILES
, a new social media platform “for the image obsessed.” As a teaser for the forthcoming aesthetics archive, the V team created a VFILES hotline
(1-855-MYV-3800) that prospective readers can call to get a taste of the types of content one might expect. Press 1 to hear new exclusive music tracks (artists include Brooklyn MC Zebra Katz). Press 2 for party listings (including one that suggests wearing waterproof shoes...?). And, press 3 for what’s hot (Madonna, Red Bull, chunky highlights) and what’s not (Monsanto
, neon tracksuits, Monroe piercings
Fans of so-called yacht rock should be kissing the ground of the GLEE writers’ room; for, without the musical television series, it’s doubtful that teens would be queuing up “You Make My Dreams Come True”
in their Spotify accounts. Though unconnected to the campy FOX show, a hotline unleashed on Twitter this past December paid tribute to Hall & Oates by allowing fans to dial in (1-719-26-OATES) for a fix of their favorite smooth operators. Callin’ Oates
was conceived by Twilio
employee Michael Selvidge, with the help of pal Reid Butler, as part of the company’s program that requires all new employees to build an app. We can go for that.
Bears of Manitou Hotline:
So enamored were they with Callin’ Oates that Phoenix-based rock band Bears of Manitou launched their own hotline
by implementing the open source code used to create the aforementioned Twilio project. By dialing 1-866-25-BEARS, would-be fans can choose from a selection of five tracks, some of which may be previously unreleased material. The musicians added their own spin to the stunt, however. For just $5
, fans can submit lyrics to the band
, via their Fiverr page
, for them to record and add to the telephone jukebox. If only navigating the cable company phone tree was this pleasurable, maybe fewer subscribers would be cutting the cord.