It’s a Jingle Out There for One San Francisco Musician

Ed Bogas of Bogas Productions is one of the most accomplished musicians you’ll ever meet.

He’s a jingle writer for radio and TV commercials. He writes humorous songs for the record industry. He plays in nightclubs. He also creates music beds for feature films and documentaries, industrial clients’ videos, TV programs, and specials like Peanuts.

We spoke to Bogas about how he works with small ad agencies, large national agencies, and other businesses by providing original music that’s written, arranged, produced and customized for clients’ needs – as well as the struggles he’s endured over his career.

ISBB: How did you get started?

Bogas: I was a classical San Francisco musician as a child and played in orchestras. In the late 1960s, I got more interested in popular music as the San Francisco rock & roll scene was gaining popularity with groups like The Jefferson Airplane and Big Brother & The Holding Company, because there was a need for someone who could read music, copywrite sheet music, and create studio arrangements. Since my background was from both worlds, I suddenly found a lot of work, but it’s been feast or famine ever since.

How did you begin working with ad agencies?

The recording studios where I was working were producing tons of ad agency radio and TV commercials. The “town arranger” was having personal problems and I was available to fill the void.

The first agency I worked with was Foote Cone & Belding, known best for its Levi Strauss commercials. After a few years, I started composing for jingles and music for other clients. After that, most people who were any good moved to Los Angeles, but I stayed in San Francisco so I could be the big fish in this small pond.

How did you get to work on the Peanuts and Garfield TV programs?

Both of these began as TV specials and developed into locally-produced weekly series. The original Peanuts musician, Vince Guaraldi, suddenly passed away and I was able to step in. The same producer also tapped me for Garfield.

What business challenges have you overcome?

Apart from the musical skills of writing and arranging for a wide variety of genres – top 40, blues, country, bluegrass, hip-hop, and others – I never had a good business presentation or an overall business plan. But being the only game in town for years was extremely fortuitous. However, over time, more savvy musicians moved to the area and created lots of competition.

How have you solved that problem?

I wasn’t able to solve this problem, but I have survived by receiving repeat calls from ad agency producers and advertising copywriters who I’d worked with over the years. My career proves that the desire to do the work is sort of a business plan in itself. But you have to be lucky and you have to be good to survive.

To hear the soundtracks from some of Ed Bogas’ commercials, visit his website.

About Gil Zeimer

Gil Zeimer is the Creative Director of Zeimer's Advertising Shoppe. As a consultant with 25 years of advertising and blogging experience, he is a Mad Man who works with businesses large and small. Read his marketing musings at www.zeimer.com.
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