Leo Burnett

Leo Burnett advertising & marketing profile

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Leo Burnett is among the world's best-known agency brands, now part of Publicis Groupe. In its heyday it was responsible for creating what has become known as the "Chicago School" of advertising, which made a virtue of simplicity and clarity, and was most strongly defined by the use of brand mascots, fictional characters who were used to personify individual brands. Uncle Ben, the Jolly Green Giant, Tony the Tiger, the Pillsbury Dough-Boy and the Marlboro Man were all Burnett inventions. The agency capped the 1990s with a showstopping deal which combined the forces of three major agency groups. In 1999, Burnett's acquired D'Arcy parent MacManus, stealing that business from under Interpublic's nose for $1bn; then sold a 20% stake in the combined group to Japanese giant Dentsu for a rumoured $400m to create one of the world's biggest marketing groups, named Bcom3. The final twist came in 2002 with capture of Bcom3 by Publicis, and the subsequent merger of the D'Arcy network into Burnett. In 2007, Leo Burnett merged with below-the-line unit Arc Worldwide under a single management team, although it continues to use both names. It remains one of the world's most admired creative agency brands, with a reputation for witty, imaginative and emotionally resonant advertising. However, since 2016, it has been increasingly intertwined with other Publicis-owned creative agencies under the umbrella of Publicis Communications. In some countries the Leo Burnett name has been phased out altogether in favour of the Publicis One brand.

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Recent stories from Adbrands Update:

Adbrands Daily Update 19th May 2020: "Pictures". Two Facebook ads in two days? Seriously? Well, yes - sorry about that - but they're both excellent and are not to be overlooked. Taking full advantage of global lockdown, Facebook has rushed out not only its Zoom-killer Messenger Rooms, but also a rather fine ad for it, a joint production between inhouse unit Creative X, appointed agency Leo Burnett and also the inimitable Gondry brothers. Director Michel Gondry is already something of an industry legend, renowned for his particular style of visual trickery, here aided and abetted by his less well-known but equally talented brother Olivier. And if all that creative firepower wasn't already enough, flavour of the year Lizzo has been roped in to record her own version of Beatles classic All Together Now especially for the ad. Clearly Facebook means business here.

Adbrands Daily Update 25th Feb 2020: In the latest of several recent defections from Leo Burnett and other Publicis Groupe agencies, Jordan Doucette, chief creative officer of the flagship Burnett's office in Chicago, is leaving to join indie agency No Fixed Address in her native Canada. No direct replacement was named. Instead North America CEO Andrew Swinand told staff that Leo Burnett global CCO Liz Taylor "has been stepping up in a meaningful way in Chicago" and will oversee local creative. Adriano Matos was recently appointed as executive creative director of LB Chicago.

Adbrands Daily Update 14th Jan 2020: "Bok Choy". Thai advertising has a style that is truly in a league of its own, alternating between sugar-drenched sentimentality that would get even a rock to weep and the broadest slapstick humour. Here's an example of the latter, one of several delivered this week by the local outpost of Leo Burnett for the Thai Health Promotion Foundation. It's an extraordinarily protracted way of delivering a comparatively simple message - be wary of eating vegetables out of season - but I guarantee you will be entertained for all of its three minutes. That's the other thing about Thai advertising: three minutes is the local standard, not 30 seconds. A dying man demands his maid prepare bok choy in oyster sauce, even though bok choy are out of season. Be prepared for a couple of entirely unexpected gross-out sight gags!

Adbrands Social Media 31st Jul 2019: "Bra / Shower / Saturday Morning". I'll admit that, personally, I have no idea what it feels like finally to take your bra off at the end of a hard hot day at work, but I can imagine it's both a relief and one of life's little pleasures. That's the underlying concept of a great new set of ads from Coors Light's new US agency Leo Burnett. The agency has conjured up a series of these little private delights, all well observed and just a little bit naughty. The bra thing is out for me, of course, but drinking beer in the shower or over a Saturday morning sports game... well, that will suit me just fine. (We will make no comment about the similarities to VCCP's recent "Official Food of..." campaign for Domino's UK. Oops, looks like we just did).

 Adbrands Daily Update 11th Jul 2019: Another milestone in the slow motion merger of Publicis Groupe agency brands was announced today. Most of the main agencies under the Publicis Communications banner in the US are being divided into three regional businesses, East, West and Center, each with their own CEO. Individual brands will remain for the time being, but the new structure seems to ensure their ultimate elimination. Publicis Communications West will comprise Saatchi & Saatchi's offices in Los Angeles and Dallas, as well as Team One, Conill, Publicis Seattle and Publicis Hawkeye in Dallas. Andrew Bruce, also CEO of Publicis Communications North America, will lead that division. Publicis Communications East covers the main Publicis and Saatchi & Saatchi outposts in New York as well as dedicated unit P&G One. Also digital shop Rokkan and the Saatchi X shopper agency. Jem Ripley, a former senior executive of SapientRazorfish, was named as CEO, and will also oversee digital business PublicisSapient. Leo Burnett will be the core business within Publicis Communications Center, alongside Arc, Fallon, Martin Retail Group and Turner Duckworth. Burnett's current North America CEO Andrew Swinand remains CEO.

Adbrands Daily Update 20th May 2019: Publicis confirmed a successor to Mark Tutssel at Leo Burnett when he retires in June. Former FCB Chicago CCO Liz Taylor was named as chief creative officer of Leo Burnett worldwide, and also creative lead for the whole Publicis Communications organisation in North America. The latter role gives her oversight of not just Burnett, but also Publicis, Saatchi & Saatchi, Fallon and any dedicated agency assignments.

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