Leo Burnett

Leo Burnett London advertising & marketing assignments

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Leo Burnett London is the US advertising network's biggest international office, and one of the UK's leading agencies. It is particularly good at delivering a distinctly British twist to creative work for network clients such as McDonald's or Kellogg or Procter & Gamble. Burnett generally maintains a modest low profile, avoiding controversy or showiness, and the agency has delivered generally sound performance since 2007 on behalf of a comparatively small pool of high-spending but conservative clients. This recent stability followed several years of mercurial performance, exacerbated by management upheavals and a major change of location to West London. Despite the management turbulence, the agency continued to perform well creatively. At the end of 2017 Burnett's replaced Saatchi & Saatchi as the main partner for smaller Publicis stablemate Fallon London, and a year later both agencies moved back into Central London to offices next door to Saatchi & Saatchi. For 2020, Nielsen (in Campaign) estimated billings of £178m, placing Burnett's just inside the local Top Ten, though behind Publicis Communications UK stablemates Saatchi & Saatchi and BBH. Charlie Rudd is CEO. Chaka Sobhani is UK chief creative officer, and also now global CCO for the entire Burnett network. Mark Elwood is executive creative director. Statutory revenues for corporate entity Leo Burnett Ltd fell sharply in 2018, a decline the company blamed on "loss of clients, revenue reduction on certain clients and group client revenue migrating to a different country at the request of the client". However topline has not yet recovered, and has continued to slip. The figure for 2020 was £22m with a net loss of £655k.

Capsule checked 16th December 2021

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Recent stories from Adbrands Update:

Adbrands Daily Update 27th Jul 2021: "Me Time". After a year or so in which their ads for McDonald's were perhaps not quite up to past standards, Leo Burnett London comes bouncing back with another fine film for the nation's favourite fast feeder. Viewers from other countries might be slightly surprised by the particular affection with which ordinary Brits regard McDonald's. For many, it's not just a burger joint, it's a cross between comfort food and a special treat. This ad sums it up perfectly.

Adbrands Daily Update 22nd Jul 2020: "Welcome Back". In an otherwise quiet week for great new ads, Leo Burnett London's end-of-lockdown celebration for McDonald's was one of comparatively few highlights. The happiness is infectious. A special pat on the back to the bright spark who selected British R&B singer Mark Morrison's old hit 'Return of the Mack' for the soundtrack. It's not just fans of the Big Mac who will be celebrating: McDonald's management and staff must also be breathing a big sigh of relief and hoping there will be no further viral upsurge.

Adbrands Daily Update 9th Mar 2020: "Ball Pit / Night Workers". Regular readers know that we're longstanding fans of most of Leo Burnett London's work for McDonald's in the UK. There's a warmth and a sly humour in these ads which acknowledges the fast feeder's role as some sort of community cornerstone here, more so perhaps than in most of the other countries straddled by those golden arches. Today sees the release of the latest two ads in two long-running campaigns, one emphasising the comparative superiority of McCafé over artisan coffee shops; the other highlighting the benefits to late-night visitors of the chain's extended opening hours. One might have thought that previous ads had said all there was to say on both fronts, but with these two new spots Burnett's have found entertaining and elegant ways of pressing home their argument afresh.

Adbrands Daily Update 13th Sep 2019: "Trust: Beef / Eggs". Leo Burnett London comes up trumps once again with a new set of "Trust" ads for McDonald's, emphasising the quality of the fast feeder's food. In the past, these have tended to concentrate on debunking in humorous style the various myths surrounding the chain's ingredients. These new spots take a slightly different approach, presenting comic parallels with the kind of posh restaurants or stores that sell only the finest foods. And then delivering the surprise punchline: in one or two critical respects those fancy pants places are not much different from good old Maccy D's; just a lot more expensive.

Adbrands Social Media 26th Jun 2019: "Facts: Wraps". Leo Burnett London's playful ads for McDonald's are always a treat. Here's another loosely in the tradition of earlier campaigns which debunked all those urban myths about what goes into the fast feeder's food. Actually, there's not much to debunk here: you can't go far wrong with a chicken wrap, so the ad offers instead a light-hearted riff on the subject of the British lunch through the ages.

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