Creative Force Behind Company’s Smiley Brand and Company Advertising
Cliff Miller, the storied, beloved, creative force behind Eat’n Park’s Smiley brand icon, is retiring from his position as Vice President of Creative Services with Eat’n Park Hospitality Group. Miller is well respected throughout local and national advertising circles for his creativity and style.
Miller joined Eat’n Park in 1997, following many years working as an art director and creative director with Pittsburgh agencies for whom Eat’n Park was a client. His agency engagements included Ketchum Advertising and Creamer Dickson Basford, and his client work included projects for Highmark Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Nationwide Insurance, PNC Bank and Stouffer’s Frozen Foods.
It was when he was working with Ketchum in 1990 and first met Basil Cox, at the time president of Eat’n Park Restaurants, that Miller knew the potential of Smiley as a brand. The meeting took place at the Robinson Township Eat’n Park Restaurant and, looking at the menu, Miller noticed it said that ‘kids receive a free Smiley Cookie.’ Miller looked at Cox and said, “I’m going to make Smiley famous. He could be your Mickey Mouse.”
In the months that followed, Miller introduced Smiley on all Eat’n Park materials, and he eventually created the slogan, ‘Eat’n Park’s the place for smiles.’ “Smiley represents the Eat’n Park culture,” Miller explains. “We’ve always wanted to do things that make people smile – our guests, our team members, our neighbors.”
Miller became the architect of Smiley, developing him into Eat’n Park’s brand icon. “Throughout my career, I’ve had the chance to work with the best people, the best clients and the best brands,” Miller says. “Eat’n Park was always my favorite client. Working for Eat’n Park Hospitality Group has been the biggest dream job any creative director could have.”
“Cliff Miller has been an integral part of Eat’n Park,” says Jeff Broadhurst, CEO, Eat’n Park Hospitality Group. “He is the most positive person I know. He’s always willing to go above and beyond, no matter what the situation.”
In addition to his work with Smiley, Miller’s responsibilities at Eat’n Park included overseeing the development of all marketing materials for the hospitality group, whose brands have grown to include Hello Bistro, Parkhurst Dining, The Porch at Schenley, Six Penn Kitchen and SmileyCookie.com. He has led the production of most of the TV and radio advertising for Eat’n Park Restaurants over the years, and he directed and produced videos for all brands.
Miller’s creativity earned him numerous recognitions throughout his career, including multiple local, national and international awards for creative excellence in advertising. He was inducted into the American Advertising Federation Hall of Fame in 2011.
A graduate of Carnegie Mellon University, Miller resides in Franklin Park with his wife, Nancy. They are parents to two adult sons and one grandson. An avid outdoorsman, Miller looks forward to retirement enabling him to spend more time with his favorite activities: fishing and hanging out with his grandson, Gavin.
Miller’s retirement is effective March 31, 2016.
Since 1949, Eat’n Park Restaurants has been a family-owned restaurant chain, serving guests across Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia. At the heart of Eat’n Park are more than 8,000 team members committed to providing friendly, attentive service and supporting a growing number of community initiatives, including an annual fundraising campaign that has generated more than $9 million for children’s hospitals. Eat’n Park also donates almost half a million Smiley Cookies – the brand’s iconic symbol – every year to support community events and fundraisers.
Eat’n Park is a member of the Eat’n Park Hospitality Group, which is a portfolio of foodservice concepts focused on personalized dining and winner of the National Restaurant Association’s 2011 Restaurant Neighbor Award for community service. Additional information about Eat’n Park Hospitality Group is available online at www.enphospitality.com.