Freeman goes for laughs and wins Cyberian Outpost

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Cyberian outpost wants a good laugh. So the online computer retailer has hired noted ad funnyman Cliff Freeman and his agency to create Outpost's first offline advertising campaign.

The TV and print campaign will be New York-based Cliff Freeman & Partners' first for an Internet e-commerce client.

Darryl Peck, president-CEO of Cyberian Outpost, worked as a gaffer in a previous career and did a lot of lighting work for TV commercials.

"Cliff's work is the best collection of work I've seen. I was laughing for probably 30 minutes watching his tape, and I don't laugh at a lot of things," Mr. Peck said.

Mr. Freeman's agency is well-known for humorous work, including former client Little Caesar's "Pizza! Pizza!" campaigns, Staples retail stores and Fox Sports hockey and baseball ads.

Mr. Freeman, while at Dancer Fitzgerald Sample, which later became part of Saatchi & Saatchi, also helped come up with the "Where's the beef?" campaign for Wendy's International and "Sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don't" theme line for Hershey Foods Corp.'s Peter Paul Almond Joy and Mounds candy bars.


The fast-moving Cyberian Outpost review took only two weeks and included three other undisclosed agencies. Mr. Peck said it was not an idea pitch.

The other agencies, as well as Freeman, submitted examples of previous work and had in-person meetings. Mr. Peck would not disclose the size of the account, except to say it will be a multimillion-dollar budget.

Mr. Freeman said he is excited to be working with an Internet client, especially one whose future he sees as being enormously promising.

"The whole idea of e-commerce will be huge in the future," said Mr. Freeman, adding that this an opportunity to stand out creatively in an industry that's just emerging.


Mr. Peck said he will see storyboards from the agency as early as this week, with the first work scheduled to air in mid-November.

The campaign will be print and TV to start, followed by radio.

"Two years ago there was no point in advertising on TV," Mr. Peck said. "Only 15% of the people watching could buy your product. But now it's almost 50%, especially if we do our media buying right."

Cyberian Outpost has being using in-house-created online advertising for three years. The company also has a marketing deal with America Online in which Cyberian Outpost pays $5 million for one year to be featured on AOL.

Cyberian Outpost, which went public earlier this year, recently posted its second-quarter results with revenue of $17 million, a 270% increase over the same quarter last year. Net loss for the second quarter was $5.6 million.

Copyright October 1998, Crain Communications Inc.

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