Tastes Like Chicken? Freeman Airs Church’s Ads

First Work Following Review Posits Fast-Feeder as Safe Alternative
NEW YORK–Renowned for its past work on Little Caesars pizza and Wendy’s, Cliff Freeman and Partners returns to the fast-food category with its first work for Church’s Chicken.
The campaign, which breaks today on network TV and cable in 40 markets, jokes that Church’s is a safe alternative to homemade chicken because it is “made by someone else.” Three slapstick TV spots in the $15-20 million effort depict an elderly woman who attempts to make fried chicken at home. In each spot, she burns her house down. The fire department keeps upping the number of firefighters who respond whenever the woman cooks. In the final spot, firefighters are jammed like sardines in her kitchen as she places a pan on the stove. The house is still razed. The campaign has no specific tagline because “the chicken speaks for itself,” said Jon Brody, the shop’s director of account services.
Cliff Freeman won the business in August after a review that included Lowe & Partners/SMS and Merkley Newman Harty, both New York. The latter pitched with Bayless/Cronin, Atlanta. Incumbent Austin Kelly Advertising, Atlanta, defended. Austin Kelly’s work carried the tagline, “Gotta love it,” and highlighted the quality of the offerings. One spot featured two TV directors auditioning “the talent,” i.e., the food.
“It’s not so much as a repositioning,” said Brad Haley, the client’s chief marketing officer, as it is a concentration on the “wholesome quality [of the] fried chicken that tastes like homemade.” Haley said same-store sales were up 1-2 percent this year, less than previous years when growth averaged 4-5 percent.
Carat North America handles media duties for the client.