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Dammit Cliff Freeman, we miss you - the Super Bowl ad career of CF&P

Cliff Freeman and partners had a special brand of funny. They were the creators of where's the beef and this little advertising in-joke known as "The pitch", they made us believe that anyone who didn't eat toasted subs was raised by wolves, they created a string of funny Little Caesars ads, and they made us laugh during the super bowl. This year, there won't be a Cliff Freeman ad during the bowl. The sudden closing of America's funniest advertising agency seems to spell the death of the thirty second spot.

I thought it apropos to make a restospective, and when I had him on the line I asked Cliff Freeman: What's with all the radios? Your office wall was/is covered with retro radios. Of course, that too turns into a reason to smile as Cliff Freeman responded: I never got new business from shots like that but I did get a lot of people wanting to sell me old radios.

Without further ado - the Cliff Freeman Super bowl commercial career, a retrospective. (Like, inside, after the jump y'all)

In 1998 they shot gerbils through a hole - see also tattoos and wolves. Ouch. When the dot.com crash happened a couple of years later these ads were either the symptom of too much money, or even blamed for the crash itself.

1999 super bowl XXXIII commercials when they taught us a new meaning of being right in the action, for Fox. Again, ouch!!!

And that everything would be better if it were more like hockey. This ad and the Billiards version were both awarded the Grand Clio 1998, as well as shiny Gold lions. When I saw it on my coveted brand-new Shots reel, I literally fell of the uncomfortable agency designer couch from laughing.

In 2002 Cliff Freeman invented the evil tester guys who skews the results by setting sometimes deadly traps for his subjects. If he wasn't daring people to make them choose an inferior not toasted sub, he was placing the toasted sandwich in the middle of a highway, and noting "subject wouldn't even cross the street for the toasted one".

In 2007 they entertained while selling entertainment, including one where a man commits suicide hoping to get to meet The Ghost Whisperer, as well as taught us about tea. "The suicides in super bowl ads" was a hotly debated topic that year.

The man who went on a quest for knowledge, wondering what the stuff in Snapple's new tea drink really meant did become wiser, while we laughed at him for being so daft in the first place.

Cliff Freeman and Partners is dead (as an agency). Long live Cliff Freeman!

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stacyhall's picture

Alas, it's hard staying smart when the world just keeps getting dumber.

Robbotman's picture

It is really the end of an era. Cliff Freeman and Partners were agency of the year, then the world changed and now CF&P is no more. It's sad.

caffeinegoddess's picture

Awesome post.

trae's picture

Cliff Freeman was one of the reasons I didn't head off to grad school for art history. My parents owe him one. These days, I don't think there are very many people who make you say "I want to do THAT when I grow up."