Thrown to the Wolves

Not since the publication of The Jungle Book (1894) has there been such a fuss about people being raised by wolves. Earlier this fall, Cliff Freeman and Partners in New York used the theme in a Quiznos spot (an untoasted-sub eater, it turns out, was raised by wolves). Not long after, RPA in Santa Monica, Calif., rolled out two spots in which a man raised by wolves is drawn to the rugged Honda Pilot.

RPA principal Larry Postaer says he’s “the first guy to bitch when it looks like I’ve been ripped off,” but he admits, “it looks like they were first. We were going to the Honda convention on a Thursday with our finished spots. The Monday before, we see the ‘suckled by wolves’ Quiznos spot. It gave me apoplexy at first, but I wasn’t going to move heaven and earth over it. And the Honda dealers really loved the Pilot spots. Later I turned to the creative who came up with the concept and asked him, ‘Is there something in pop culture I’m missing?’ ”

But Postaer insists the Quiznos spot is “horrible” and says it’s no wonder Cliff Freeman lost the account to The Martin Agency in October. “It must be the same team that worked on Mike’s Hard Lemonade,” he says. “They lost that account, too, so they’re 2-for-2. They’ll probably win awards, but it’s the wrong tone of advertising for food. It was my fervent hope that it would be yanked off the air.”

Informed of Postaer’s remarks, Cliff Freeman president and executive creative director Arthur Bijur said: “The spots we created were extremely successful. Quiznos had record sales while they were on the air, which was for their entire planned course. And I still like Larry.”