Leo Burnett Is Buttoning Up


About David Burn

Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. I worked for seven agencies in five states before launching my own practice in 2009. Today, I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.


  1. What’s it say at the very bottom there? – can’t read it.
    Looks like it says, “got a better idea about how we do our work?” or something to that extent.
    I’m not believing for a second that Leo Burnett is making their creatives wear dress shirts.

  2. got a better idea about how we do our work? email: betteridea@leoburnett.com

  3. Yes, let’s hope it’s just part of an internal campaign designed to stir people up and get them to join a larger conversation about keeping things fresh at work. Otherwise, one can only imagine the logic behind it. “Guys, billings are down, morale is at an all-time low and the Chicago ad community is a shadow of its former self. There ‘s only one thing to do. Institute a business-casual dress code.” Suits and ties, maybe. At least that would make a statement. But business-casual? Note to Leo Burnett Management: More Dockers and Rockports never solved anything.

  4. Oh, lord, no.
    I completely agree with fatc above…
    As someone said about Leo awhile ago, they need to quit reaching for the stars and use those hands to pull their head out of their ass.

  5. This was a joke. Designed to call attention to the “betteridea” email address at the bottom.
    In that sense, it was one of the most effective ads I’ve ever seen, because people around here were flipping their chickens until the joke was revealed.

  6. sure it was a joke. suuuuure.

  7. One person’s “effective” is another’s annoying, I guess. Like yelling “Fire!” in a crowded theater, right? Whoah. You sure put one over on us. Yesiree. Personally, the whole “nah-nah, made you look” trend in advertising can’t end too soon for me. It’s OK in small doses, but lately it feels as tired as a mockumentary.

  8. it would be funny if it were from wieden and kennedy. comedy needs conflict.

  9. Well, there appears to be plenty of conflict at Burnett. And some of it inspires comedic results. But veedub is correct that this ad cannot be categorized as comedy. It seems like the joke backfired, at least in terms of generating negative feelings for the agencies involved. Burnett needs to focus on producing ads that get attention for the right reasons.

  10. AdAge buys the “it’s just a joke” line…
    Leo Burnett Totally PWNS Bloggers

    Adpulp, perhaps hedging its bet, posted the photo without comment under the heading “Leo Burnett is buttoning up.”

  11. Leo should be more worried that everyone found it completely believable they would enforce an arbitrary dress code to “encourage success.”
    As veedub said above, people would have gotten the joke had it come from a better agency.