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Who The #$*% Approved This?!: A Wrong Number That Wasn't So "Toll-Free"

Posted by Kiefer Uuksulainen on November 13, 2015
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TyPOs, miSSpelligns and GRAmmatical gaffes are inevitable when organizations are producing increasingly more assets under tighter timelines. It may be a simple misplaced comma or an honest spelling mistake, but rarely do these mistakes go unnoticed. The resultant backlash causes legal nightmares, PR disasters, severe financial consequences and even firings.

A story reported on by Bangor Daily News from August 1999 discussed an L.L. Bean Kids "back-to-school" catalogue, which was printed with an incorrect toll-free phone number. The misprint left the Maine-based retailer having to quickly assume the misprinted telephone number from a private company in Virginia, who was receiving an overwhelming amount of unwarranted calls from the retailer's customers. The amount of money that ultimately exchanged hands to purchase the number was undisclosed; needless to say, it was a large sum that was unnecessarily spent.

The cause of this headache was the result of an L.L. Bean employee wrongfully assuming that toll-free numbers began with 800. The correct number, 1-877-LLB-KIDS, was subsequently changed to 1-800-LLB-KIDS prior to final printing and distribution; a mistake that could have easily been rectified had L.L. Bean been using more effective production procedures. The ramifications of such a misprint under similar circumstances may have resulted in millions of dollars in lost sales, costly reprints and redistribution of new catalogues as well as immediate consumer distress.

L.L. Bean’s public relations manager, Richard Donaldson, declined to disclose the total number of misprinted catalogues that were mailed, but the company historically sends millions of catalogues to homes within the United States and internationally.

What could've been done?

If the L.L. Bean could go back in time (which we're sure they'd very much like to), an easy-implementable fix would look to online proofing solutions. A more organized production process helps to manage feedback and automates the review and approval of assets. Proofing software reroutes reviews to ensure input from all key reviewers is received and prevents the premature publishing of assets without approval. The implication of this means this needless mistake would have been caught much earlier in the production pipeline.

Online proofing software like ConceptShare could have helped the L.L.Bean deliver approved and error-free assets, but it's not too late for you, help stop errors before they happen! Contact us.



Topics: Review and Approval

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