Tuesday, November 3, 2009

McDonalds scoffs at rumours

McDonald’s Canada and the president of the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association are trying to counter what they say is false information being spread by an Internet hoax.

The hoax e-mail, which purports to be from an Alberta cattle-feeding group, calls for a boycott of the fast-food chain because it says McDonald’s has plans to buy most of its beef from South America.

Not true, said association president Brad Wildeman–who owns a cattle feedlot in Lanigan, Sask.

He said McDonald’s buys as much Canadian beef as it can, and the company said that translates into roughly 29 million kilograms each year.

Classic Agency closes

Where's the Shop? Cliff Freeman Closes Its Doors

Agency Behind Classic Wendy's Ad and 'Pizza, Pizza' Shutters After 22-Year Run
By: Kunur Patel, Published: Nov 02, 2009
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In what was left of an office on West 20th Street in New York, a small group of casually dressed people were packing boxes amidst empty file cabinets and unplugged phones when a visitor arrived.

"Cliff Freeman is ceasing operations at this location," said a woman who asked not to have her name printed and then asked the visitor to leave. She bore a strong resemblance to online photos of Gail Hoffman-Frusciante, the chief financial officer and one of the few remaining employees of Cliff Freeman & Partners, a legendary ad agency that could once brag about being one of the most creative shops in the land.

For a one-time creative hotbed that ought to get a mention in any history of TV advertising, the demise of Cliff Freeman & Partners will have sadly little effect on the much-changed marketing business of today -- aside from the emotional impact of many who say they owe their careers to the place. A few people, maybe even a dozen but probably less, will need new jobs and a precious few clients will need new agencies.

The most significant client, Baskin-Robbins, offered just the stoic statement: "Baskin-Robbins is aware that Cliff Freeman & Partners has closed its doors. We have a search under way for a new agency partner."

Several top executives who spoke with Advertsing Age were unable to point to any single reason for the agency's collapse. It's been noted that it had a reputation for old-school (if good) TV work and not for the cross-discipline, and in particular, digital work that most marketers demand today. Some said poor account management was to blame. Another person cited the failure to replace lost clients, and one even said it was merely cyclical and that small, independent agencies are more vulnerable to economic cycles. All, however, called it a "sad day" and had nary a negative word about Mr. Freeman.

Although it went with more of a whimper than a bang, the end of the agency has an end-of-an-era feel to it -- at least for those old enough to remember the storied shop's heyday. In the 1980s and 1990s, Cliff Freeman's work was unmissable. At the shop Dancer Fitzgerald Sample, Mr. Freeman was responsible for the Wendy's pop-culture sensation "Where's the beef?" At his own agency, started in 1987, he did Little Caesar's "Pizza, Pizza" and and other memorable work. In the 1990s, there was a run with over-the-top dot-com advertising, such as when it fired a gerbil out of a cannon for Outpost.com.

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