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BIJUR'S CHALLENGE: ENLARGE FREEMAN'S REPUTATION NEW PRESIDENT WANTS AGENCY TO BE KNOWN AS FULL-SERVICE SHOP

By Published on .

As arthur bijur steps up to the new position of president at Cliff Freeman & Partners, he has his sights set on expanding the agency's reputation beyond that of a creative hot shop.

"Our creative is so powerful that people think of us as a creative agency, but it's really a full-service operation here," said Mr. Bijur, who retains the title of executive creative director. "My own personal mission is to help the agency grow and evolve, but to make sure we maintain our reputation for outstanding creative."

BUILDING DEPARTMENTS

Mr. Bijur wants to emphasize to clients that departments other than creative are building and broadening. He pointed out Freeman's planning unit and strategic business team as two areas successful in servicing clients.

He will also stress the "depth of quality people" in those areas. The goal in that, and other moves to follow, is to draw attention to the talents of those who don't have their names on the door. For example, David Angelo was promoted to executive creative director recently from creative director.

Mr. Bijur's promotion sets in place a succession plan at the New York shop, even though Chairman-CEO-Chief Creative Officer Cliff Freeman, 53, isn't planning on retiring in the near future.

"Changes are happening to ensure top management remains intact and continues to grow," said Mr. Bijur, 42, who along with Mr. Freeman and others co-founded the agency as a unit of Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising in 1987. Mr. Bijur has worked with Mr. Freeman for 15 years, beginning at Saatchi predecessor agency Dancer Fitzgerald Sample.

Freeman, which reported bill-ings of $150 million last year, is known for its humorous, quirky work. The agency foyer is overflowing with awards ranging from Addys and Andys to Clios.

But for all the glory that can come from great creative, Mr. Bijur said it can also sometimes be trying. "Every creative person has the same frustration," he said. "There will always be times when they have a love for [a creative project] but it's not appreciated."

NATIONAL ATTENTION

Mr. Bijur's own standout work has aided many Freeman clients in gaining a national name and image.

"I credit Arthur with putting the Staples name on the map," said Phyllis Wasserman, VP-advertising at the office products retailer. "Customers were having trouble determining one superstore from another. We hired Cliff Freeman to create a brand personality to differentiate us."

Kudos are also forthcoming from Little Caesars Pizza. Messrs. Bijur and Freeman helped the pizza marketer go national in 1988, using what Little Caesars VP-Marketing Creative Rob Elliott described as Mr. Bijur's "brilliant" and "sophisticated humor." That humor has also helped Freeman win three assignments from Coca-Cola Co.

Those ideas are often born in odd places. Mr. Bijur said he gets many of his ideas in the shower, in the middle of the night or first thing in the morning.

The concept for his favorite ad-the Little Caesars "Singing Baby" commercial-came to him while he was sitting at the airport.

As he explained it: "You jam all the information in the world into your brain, it ferments, then suddenly pops."

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