How many times have you told someone not to do something, but they go ahead and do it?
Well, this is the reason why I hung a giant banner on the Vancouver Quarter bridge in King’s Lynn that said “whatever you do, DON’T call 07843796688”.
I thought it would be funny to see how many people would ignore the very clear instructions and call it.
In order for the experiment to work I had to keep it a secret so only me, my boss and the Town Centre Manager knew about it.
To be inconspicuous I snuck the banner up overnight, but to my horror the very next morning it had gone!
Two other members of town management had seen it and ripped it down thinking it was spam, so we had to let them in on the joke too.
The next night I crept out in the darkness again to put the banner back up. Success!
But then the company who maintain the town’s bridges tore it down worried it was some sort of premium rate phone scam.
Now, it’s really nice to know that the people who look after our town centre are committed to the role, but I had already put the banner up twice and was not looking forward to spending yet another evening hanging off the edge of a bridge in the dark.
This banner was turning into the bane of my life, but it was third time lucky because this time it stayed up.
So what happened if you called the number?
You would’ve heard the message “oh dear, you’ve called the number that you shouldn’t have called. Oh well, leave a message if you want to. You never know what might happen”.
I had in excess of 500 calls, which is pretty impressive for a number that was advertised alongside the slogan ‘whatever you do, DON’T call...’.
The point of my experiment was to see how many people would do something you tell them not to do, but I really wasn’t expecting this sort of response!
And the voicemails people left are so funny, like the man who said “umm, I’ve just seen a banner that says I shouldn’t call this number, but I had to, I’m sorry”.
He actually called to apologise that he had called!
But the most hilarious thing is that I started a massive rumour that illusionist Derren Brown was responsible for the banner. It is, after all, the sort of thing he’d do. By some miracle coincidence, the guy who I’d got to voice the answer machine message actually sounds a lot like him, which added to this completely unintentional rumour even more.
The amount of people who left messages saying “pick me Derren!” is unreal!
We’ve taken the banner down now but don’t miss the Breakfast Show all this week to hear the best voicemails left on the number that you shouldn’t have called.
n Well, did you ring the number? And how do you feel now? Drop a line on firstname.lastname@example.org or look at our Twitter page on LynnNewsCitizen and join in the conversation.