748-1414: THE MOST FAMOUS PHONE NUMBER IN DALLAS

If you’ve lived here long enough, you remember the phone number for the old Dallas Times Herald Classifieds. And you remember the radio jingle that promoted same. Follow the jump to hear that jingle–and learn why the Morning News won’t be using it.

Here’s the old Herald jingle, which was written by our good friend Spencer Michlin in 1978. The Herald’s agency at that time was, oddly enough, The Richards Group. I say “oddly” because The Richards Group now does work for the News. Spencer tells me that he thinks it was Stan Richards’ idea to do a jingle based on the phone number so people would remember it and think of it when they needed classified advertising. Richards gave Spencer this assignment personally (the agency was only a couple of years old at the time, and Richards was that involved with every account).

So why bring this up now? Because over lunch the other day, Spencer told me that News had actually commissioned him to re-record the spot. You see, the News bought the phone number when it bought the rest of the Herald. If you dial the Herald now, you get the News.

Here’s the updated version of the jingle, which was done in 2003. This was before The Richards Group was handling the News‘ account. Apparently the in-house advertising people were quite excited about the idea, and management, at least at some level, was willing to consider making 748 their main classified number. But when the song was presented to top management, Spencer was told the song was immediately shouted down by the brass and wasn’t even allowed to play all the way through.

And now you know.

Update: Jim Hradecky is an alert FrontBurnervian. He was also involved with the creation of the campaign. Jim writes in:

The way I recall it, I was given the assignment to create a television spot for the Times Herald Classifieds (even though I had never written one before). I presented a concept for an animated spot in the style of the old “Multiplication Rock” cartoons, which used animation, music, and repetition to teach kids their multiplication tables. I figured the same would be true for a phone number. If people still remember 748-1414 after all this time, I guess it worked. Stan DID bring in Spencer to create the music. He created a jingle masterpiece. To this day, it’s still rolling around in my head.

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