Cliff Freeman, the adman who once asked, “Where’s the beef?”, and set off a public debate over the hamburger, has died at age 80.
Freeman died of complications from dementia at an assisted living facility in Manhattan, his agent Stephanie Karr confirmed.
Freeman was often cast as the bad guy in Mad Men, but he actually helped create the iconic McDonald’s Big Mac, which led to a boycott in 1988 when authorities said it was “too unhealthy” for kids.
He later helped Burger King with a range of ads that featured grizzled cowboys, mystical vampires and sexy sailors.
Freeman was a regular on CNBC’s interview show Closing Bell, and a prolific reporter on Adweek magazine’s Ad Notes column.
He was inducted into the Worldwide Hall of Fame of the International Advertising Federation in London in 1993, becoming the first American to be so honored.
Freeman’s New York Public Library book, “Where’s the Beef?” read, “McDonald’s is famous for its Big Mac, a burger and fries that can feed two people for a quarter of the price of the cheapest steak. That put McDonald’s at a price advantage over hamburgers everywhere else. But there are still delicious alternatives for the discriminating consumer.”
Fox News and The Associated Press contributed to this report.