Leo Burnett–The Agency, Not The Man–Turns 75

Some agencies don’t last more than a few years, but Leo Burnett soldiers on. It’s owned by Publicis, but the man’s name is still on the door and his legacy lives on. Phil Rosenthal of the Chicago Tribune has some thoughts:

Sorry, Charlie. Don’t get mad, get glad. Catchphrases coined at Burnett may be phased out, replaced by other campaigns. But the best of them remain with us, like a song playing on a clock radio as we awake that we cannot shake. So it’s no secret that it’s strong enough for a man but made for woman. United, we still fly the friendly skies. And beef, it’s what’s for dinner.
This is not unique to Burnett among ad agencies. All the good ones have laid claim to territory in one lobe or another.
Maybe it’s because you’re getting older, scanning or speeding past ads and generally less vulnerable to advertising’s sway as a consumer, what with buying habits more ingrained. But the Burnett images, ideas and characters tend to be ones that made themselves at home in your head many years ago, rather than, say, the more recent Mac versus PC, which TBWA Worldwide created for Apple.

He brings up an interesting point. Will any client today ever be satisfied with creating a campaign, a character, or a tagline that lasts for decades? Do any of them have that kind of vision or mere patience? I doubt it. For better or worse, they just don’t make ad campaigns like they used to.



About Dan Goldgeier

Dan Goldgeier is a Seattle-based freelance copywriter with experience at advertising agencies across the U.S. He is a graduate of the Creative Circus ad school, and currently teaches at Seattle's School of Visual Concepts. Dan is also a columnist for TalentZoo.com and the author of View From The Cheap Seats and Killer Executions and Scrubbed Decks.