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Cliff Freeman Wins Shoney's Restaurants

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NEW YORK Shoney's Restaurants said it has awarded its creative advertising account to MDC Partners' Cliff Freeman and Partners.

The Nashville, Tenn., client had used independent agency Doe-Anderson in Louisville, Ky. Sources said the estimated $20 million account moved to the New York agency after a review of undisclosed agencies.

In a statement, client svp of marketing Dan Dahlen said, "We have low penetration in our markets, we have conservative growth plans, and our biggest competitors outspend us dramatically. But we now have the ability to outsmart and out-execute our competitors to make Shoney's successful. Cliff Freeman has proven that what counts in advertising are results—dramatic results that can catapult a concept to success with the right positioning and message."

Dahlen worked with agency principal and chief creative officer Cliff Freeman when the latter was at Dancer Fitzgerald in New York. Together, they created the famous "Where's the beef?" campaign in the 1980s for Wendy's, where Dahlen was a marketing executive.

Besides Wendy's, Freeman has extensive experience in the fast-food category. He has created campaigns for Little Caesar's, Hardee's, Quizno's and Church's Chicken.

"I have always regarded Shoney's Restaurants with the highest level of affection, having grown up with the concept," Freeman said in a statement, referring to his childhood in Mississippi and Florida. "It's exciting to be a part of a culture where we can have fun talking about a great brand with a great heritage."

Many of Shoney's 300 U.S. restaurants are in the Southeast part of the country.

The client spent $5 million in U.S. media in 2004, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus, but said it has earmarked $20 million in media for the agency's 2006 campaign.