‘Hey, pick up your friggin’ phone’

You might ignore your cellphone if your ringtone is Beethoven’s Fur Elise, but what if it’s a gruff voice that yells ”Pick up the damn phone?”

Now that musical ringtones have become commonplace, Time Warner’s Cartoon Network is planning to use the voices and personalities of its cartoon characters to alert cellphone users to incoming calls.

One choice for adults could be the cynical next-door neighbor Carl from Aqua Teen Hunger Force. Carl first growls ”Hey,” but if the call is not answered, he gets more irate and ends with ”Pick up your friggin’ phone.”

If the same ignored caller phones again, Carl eventually yells, ”You’re lazy. That’s nice. That’s fine. Like you get paid by the government or something?”

The same concept will be applied to other characters, with milder messages for fans of children’s cartoons.

In addition to ringtones, Cartoon Networks says the CallToons service will have cartoon characters signal everything from new voicemails to low-battery alerts.

It has filed a patent for the technology, which it says is the first to respond in real time to the state of the phone and the behaviour of the user. The company aims to eventually license the technology to other media outlets.

”We’re personifying the normal alerts and displays on the phone,” said Ross Cox, a senior product director.

Cartoon Network — chastised earlier this month for sparking a terror scare in Boston with a ”guerrilla” advertising campaign for Aqua Teen Hunger Force — stressed that CallToons could also be used to help educate children on safety.

For example, the imaginary friend Bloo from the children’s show Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends could suggest that children hand the phone over to their parents if the incoming number is unknown.

The network, which is working with Ericsson on the technology, aims to have CallToons available for consumers through United States wireless service providers in the fourth quarter. The company has not disclosed pricing plans.

Almost 40-million US consumers spent $870-million on ringtones in 2006, according to Jupiter Research analyst David Card, who believes new variations could help maintain growth.

”At some point the juice is going to run out [on ringtones] so it’s good to see new interesting entertainment,” said Card who was given a demonstration of CallToons.

But he added, ”I don’t think it’s going to appeal to everybody though because it’s a kind of a crazy experience.”

For example, Carl’s comments on ring-back tones, which the caller hears when waiting for a call to be picked up, could create interesting consequences given that most people check their caller ID before picking up the phone.

Carl would start by telling the caller to hold on, then gradually escalate his message until he tells the caller ”get ready to talk to the computer” and ”They must be screening you” — perhaps not suitable for when the boss calls. ‒ Reuters

We make it make sense

If this story helped you navigate your world, subscribe to the M&G today for just R30 for the first three months

Subscribers get access to all our best journalism, subscriber-only newsletters, events and a weekly cryptic crossword.”

Related stories


Already a subscriber? Sign in here


Latest stories

Mkhwebane would not hear of Gupta links to Estina: witness

The suspended public protector told him she would pleased if the probe into the scam delivered no adverse findings, Reginald Ndou tells inquiry

Editorial: The ANC won’t listen to its own conscience, the...

The party’s top officials seem to have no real inclination to follow through with the integrity commission’s recommendations on corruption

Nxesi: The changing definition of work demands a review of...

The labour minister noted many informal workers had been excluded from the country’s Covid-19 relief scheme

Tazné van Wyk murder accused admits to absconding parole

Moyhdian Pangkaeker evaded the justice system for about four years during which time he twice absconded while on parole. He faces 27 charges, 24 of which he allegedly committed while on parole.

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…