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. Though the management upheaval has continued, the agency has continued to perform well. At the end of 2017 it replaced Saatchi & Saatchi as the main partner for smaller Publicis stablemate Fallon London. In 2018, Leo Burnett and Fallon moved back into Central London to offices next door to Saatchi & Saatchi. For 2018, Nielsen (in Campaign) estimated billings of £210m, placing it at #9 in the local rankings, behind Publicis Communications UK stablemates BBH and Saatchi & Saatchi. Charlie Rudd is CEO with Chaka Sobhani as chief creative officer. Statutory revenues for corporate entity Leo Burnett Ltd fell 30% in 2018 to £23.5m, while net profit plunged to just £41k. The company said the decline was caused by "loss of clients, revenue reduction on certain clients and group client revenue migrating to a different country at the request of the client".
Capsule checked 18th February 2020
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Recent stories from Adbrands Update:
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.
Adbrands Social Media 18th Mar 2019: "We Could". Here's another mini-masterpiece from Leo Burnett London for McDonald's; in this case the fast-feeder's McCafé sub-brand. Last time, the target was pretentious coffee shops; this time, Burnetts take aim at the advertising perpetrated by rival coffee brands. You can practically name the brand for each one of the different ad parodies (and they almost all begin with an N and end with an é) The shift from one type of voiceover to another is an especially nice touch. It's a deliciously "meta" approach to the whole thing: an ad making fun of other ads.
Adbrands Social Media 18th Feb 2019: "Interview". Here's another great ad from Leo Burnett London for McDonald's; and another example of a uniquely productive relationship between agency and client. A wise man once told me: always be nice to people on the way up; you never know when you might need them. Here's a perfect illustration of that advice. The office environment has proved fertile ground before for Burnett's and McDonald's - the spot 'New Job' a few years ago was one of their best - and here again McDonald's is presented as the great equaliser, the place where all types of people find common comfort. Simple but brilliant.
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