NEW YORK -- Just six weeks after making a big splash with a Super Bowl spot that showed a woman taking a blow dart in the neck, Quizno's marketing chief has left the company, and the status of its ad account at Cliff Freeman and Partners is unclear, sources said.
A client representative said "Cliff Freeman [in New York] is still under contract at this time." She did, however, confirm that the client's evp of marketing, Rob Elliott, left his position in the last three weeks. The rep said Brooksy Smith is the interim evp of marketing and that Quizno's has not yet named a permanent replacement.
"Quizno's has been looking at restructuring its marketing plan and dollars," said Charles Rosen, Cliff Freeman's director of business development. "As far as we know, we are part of that plan. We're unaware of any official agency search."
But sources said the client may already be reaching out to other shops.
In January, Initiative Media landed media buying and planning duties from Carat. Quizno's spent about $15 million on media in 2001.
Cliff Freeman landed the creative account in 1999, largely on the recommendation of Elliott, who worked at Little Caesars when the shop handled the pizza chain's account.
The Super Bowl spot, a continuation of the "Oven toasted tastes better" campaign from April 2001, parodied product testing by showing a woman who prefers the oven-toasted sandwich. The researcher shoots her with a dart, and she falls unconscious as he records her preference for the untoasted sub. A man speaking for Quizno's then says that the only way to beat the oven-toasted taste in tests is to cheat.
Another spot shows the tester and a man staring at a guillotine. The man asks what happens if subjects choose the toasted sub, whereby the tester releases the guillotine.