Ads on the line

A long-distance telephone reseller is breaking ground in the media field.Brampton, Ont.-based Ad-Tel Communications provides companies with the opportunity to sponsor free long-distance calling between two selected long-distance exchanges, in return for direct advertising to callers.Ad-Tel President Loretto Bender says that...

A long-distance telephone reseller is breaking ground in the media field.

Brampton, Ont.-based Ad-Tel Communications provides companies with the opportunity to sponsor free long-distance calling between two selected long-distance exchanges, in return for direct advertising to callers.

Ad-Tel President Loretto Bender says that instead of having subscribers pay a monthly fee for a long-distance network service, Ad-Tel gives the service to consumers for free and has advertisers sponsor access to the telephone lines.

Using a touch-tone phone, callers dial a seven-digit number and listen to a 10-second ad. After the ad plays through, they dial ’1,’ and then their number, to be connected to their party and to talk for an unlimited time – free of charge.

Bender says Ad-Tel is in the phone business, but also in the advertising business.

This summer, Ad-Tel bought the technology that makes the conversion possible from Darren Morgenstern, president of the original Ad-Tel Communications, based in Schomberg, Ont.

Ad-Tel has sold the service to real estate company Arthur F. Johnson & Associates and car dealership Park Lincoln-Mercury, both in Georgetown, Ont.

For a month, Georgetown residents have been able to call Toronto and nearby Mississauga toll-free. Using the same number, residents of Toronto and Mississauga can call Georgetown without cost.

In four weeks, more than 60,000 callers have listened to alternating messages from each company, according to Finn Poulstrup, manager of Johnson & Associates.

Poulstrup says exposure from the ad and the service itself has generated enormous good will in the community.

Advertising costs depend on the number of sponsors rotating on the message wheel for the area.

Bender says about $150 per month is the average for a message played at least 3,000 times.

Bell Canada says it is hard to estimate the amount of revenue Bell has lost from this market over the month. AV