All hail the Jingle King, Jeff Arthur! (Maddux Business Report)
By Bob Andelman
“Some might say that jingle writing isn’t an art, it’s just advertising”.
Jeff Arthur, Jingle King, Clearwater, Florida
Maybe. But there is a certain melodical, redundant appeal to a well-done jingle that is at once irrepressible and unrelenting, two qualities usually assigned to our finest pop arts. Some jingle writers focus on local and regional business, but there are a select few that transcend their own locale, reaching the heights of the profession.
Jeff Arthur, Tampa Bay’s “King of Jingles,” is one of the few composers outside of New York City, Los Angeles and Chicago to have made the move up successfully. Having produced tracks for the likes of AMC Theaters, Anheuser-Busch, Eastern Airlines, Sun Bank, Wendy’s and shopping malls across the nation, Arthur is recognized as a world class player. He has done crematories and passed on escort services. But one of his favorites is for Mary’s Bonding Agency.
“Mary gets bail bonds for people who get in trouble,” explains Jeff Arthur, one-time national recording artist (Columbia and A&M Records) turned jingle writer. “She has a really good reputation as a grandmotherly person when you get in trouble.”
So this is what he came up with, sung in the mellow, folksy style of James Taylor:
SOMETIMES THINGS DON’T GO AS PLANNED;
AND THAT’S WHY MARY’S THERE.
MARY’S GOT A WAY OF BONDING
THAT SHOWS HOW MUCH SHE CARES.
SO WHEN YOU NEED A LITTLE HELP,
CALL ON YOUR OLD FRIEND MARY.
CALL MARY’S BONDING AGENCY, 571-H-E-L-P.
As the Mp3 of Mary’s jingle plays, Arthur bounces around Studio B, laughing at the humor of the lyrics. He describes the ideal scenario of effectiveness for this commercial: “Can you imagine a cop, driving with a guy handcuffed in the back of his car, and the cop is singing, ‘Call your old friend Mary, 571-H-E-L-P.’?”
Arthur is laughing. This job can be a lot of fun!
Don’t get the wrong idea: production of jingles was not (in the past) a major industry on Florida’s west coast—at least not until Jeff Arthur Studios came along. Most folks can’t write a great jingle. That’s why Jeff Arthur Studios has become the largest jingle production house in the Southeastern United States.
“I think Jeff Arthur does more straight jingle work than anyone else,” says Tom Morris, studio manager of Morrisound Studios in Tampa. “We call Jeff The Jingle King.”
“People have a tendency to think of jingles as cute little things,” says Arthur. “Music is the soul of your advertising copy.”
It is also notable that multiple studies have confirmed that an original musical jingle (as opposed to a re-purposed pop song) increases consumer advertisement recall by 33 percent.
Jingle work used to be sent out-of-market to places like New York. But with Jeff Arthur, that’s all changed. Jingle work that originates here—along with jingle work from all over the country (even overseas) now lands in offices of Jeff Arthur Studios.
Jingles are meant to be sung. The words alone aren’t as emotional and jarring in print advertising unless the music has been working for a long time. With an established jingle — such as the Arthur’s “Hey, Hey, Tampa Bay!” (for NFL Films) — the jingle sings itself when its printed.
“If jingles didn’t work,” says Arthur, “you wouldn’t have 80 percent of all business-to-consumer Fortune 500 companies using them. I guarantee you, McDonalds and Coke know what they’re doing.”
And Arthur knows what he’s doing.
His lobby walls are covered with honors and there are two Clio Award statuettes in his private office. Between the Clearwater facility and studios in Charlotte and Orlando, Arthur’s operations continue to expand.
“I went to North Carolina last week and I got nine jingle commissions. I’ve already got 25 running there,” he says.
Bob Andelman is the host and producer of Mr. Media® Interviews. He is also the author or co-author of 12 books, including Mind Over Business with Ken Baum, The Consulate with Thomas R. Stutler, The Profiler with Pat Brown, Built From Scratch with the founders of The Home Depot, The Profit Zone with Adrian Slywotzky, Mean Business with Albert J. Dunlap, and Will Eisner: A Spirited Life. Click here to see Bob Andelman’s Amazon Central author page. He is a member in good standing of the American Society of Journalists and Authors (member page)