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Dusting Off: The Creative Answering Machine Message

  • Caitlin Ganswindt

kate moss telephone

“You have reached the voice mailbox of five... one... four... six... Leave a message at the... To leave a callback number, press five.”

Lately, we’ve realized we spend about as much time on the line with female voice font number 154 as we did with Sir Moviefone in the late ’90s. And you know what? It sucks.

Gone are the days where an eighth unanswered ring was followed by a bite-size sound treat tuned to the melody of “We Will Rock You” or “Bohemian Rhapsody” (Queen was huge among influential answering machine circles).

It’s high time we made those 15 to 30 seconds before the beep personal again.

Herewith: the dos and don’ts for achieving message box glory.

Do: Sing your personal info to a 20-second snip of a classic ditty. Don’t: Sing your personal info to a six-minute live recording of a classic ditty.

Do: Get playful, think outside the box. Maybe you’re busy running with the bulls, or sailing. Any I’d Rather Be... bumper slogan is fair game. Don’t: Pull that thing where you’re all, “Hey... What’s up... Really? ... Just kidding, I’m not here. Leave a message.” No one likes that.

Do: Jazz it up with some percussion. Maybe you’re a tambourine guy; maybe you’ve got some maracas on hand. Keep it to a light sprinkling and you’re golden. Don’t: Jazz it up with a barbershop quartet. Points for creativity, but you’re too far over the line.

The Platonic Ideal: