I asked why.
The RESPONSE Agency was creating a direct mail package for a worldwide financial institution to send to 300,000 clients. The objective was to increase signature-based debit card transactions.
You might think that it's silly to obsess over whether or not to place a 1 in front of a toll-free number. Actually, it's only silly to obsess over things if they don't matter — and sometimes seeming minutia make a difference. In fact, a 1 in front of a toll-free number will ever-so-slightly increase the number of calls you receive.
But in this case, it wasn't worth arguing. For one thing, we'd have lost the argument. Policy, you know. For another, the desired action wasn't phone calls; it was behavior change, from PIN-based to signature-based transactions. Even without the 1, response was over 25%.