LEO BURNETT USA

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Agency Rating: 3 1/2

With its victories of Delta Airlines, Toys "R" Us and Crayola, Leo Burnett USA, Chicago, was a primary factor in the Leo Group's reversal of fortunes last year.

The largest arm of Leo Group continued diversifying: buying a minority stake in Moroch & Associates, Dallas, to bolster its local retail field marketing capabilities; expanding TFA/Leo Burnett Technology Group to San Franciso and Austin; and launching the Lapiz Hispanic marketing subsidiary.

Mary Bishop was promoted to president and chief marketing officer, from global head of Procter & Gamble Co. and managing director for Burnett's healthcare unit.

Burnett also established an eight-person board that will focus on U.S. operations, and scrapped a mini-agency plan that was designed to make the agency more nimble and responsive to client challenges.

The agency had $500 million in net new billings. Its losses included an estimated $20 million assignment when TruServ consolidated its account with Marc USA; $15 million when Amoco merged with British Petroleum; and $5 million when the agency resigned Fila Holding.

Looking ahead

Leo Burnett USA wants to diversify beyond packaged goods, targeting dot-coms and growth industries such as healthcare, technology and entertainment. The merger with the MacManus Group, and its Medicus healthcare group, will allow the agency to go after more healthcare clients. Burnett may diversify to include stronger direct marketing, PR and Internet operations.

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