Pizza chain Little Caesars was one of the first accounts Freeman won after starting his own agency, and he remained an exclusive customer for 11 years as he battled for market share against competitors such as Pizza Hut and Domino’s.
“Well, you know, pizza is a fun product,” Freeman told Luerzer’s Archive, an industry magazine, in a 1998 interview. “Everyone sits down and eats pizza together, so you should have fun when you advertise it. You certainly can’t be serious about it. “
An advertisement devised by Mr. Freeman emphasized the elasticity of pizza cheese, with a clown effect (a baby takes a wild ride in his high chair around the house while holding a slice). In another, a goofy worker for an anonymous rival chain tries to impress a customer by twisting an origami-style pizza box into a pterodactyl shape (underscoring his offering of just one pizza and one box, compared to Little’s two pizzas. Caesars). for a low price).
Those commercials helped lift Little Caesars’ sales by 138 percent between 1988 and 1993. However, after sales leveled off and Little Caesars considered switching advertising agencies, Freeman ended his company’s association with the chain in 1998.
Over the years, Mr. Freeman’s agency won many Clio Awards for advertising excellence. Won for commercials created for clients such as Little Caesars, Philips and Outpost.com, and for a series of ads for Fox Sports coverage of the National Hockey League that demonstrated how basketball, bowling, billiards and golf would be. better if they were played more physically. , like hockey.
Neal Tiles, a Fox Sports marketing executive, told The New York Times in 1998 that he had chosen Mr. Freeman’s agency because it took “strategic creative risks” in many campaigns.
But Cliff Freeman & Partners lasted only 11 more years. Amid a recession, executive turmoil and customer exits, it closed in 2009.