Leo Burnett USA

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2004 rating: 3 stars

The essence: Publicis Groupe's Leo Burnett showed signs of emerging from management tumult and client losses. The hiring of Tom Bernardin as CEO of Leo Burnett USA and Leo Burnett Worldwide president resolved leadership questions. It started picking up new clients in 2004, most notably PetSmart. But it still suffered losses, including Toys "R" Us. This year should tell whether the agency is finally poised for a comeback

Net growth: The agency landed PetSmart, ConAgra's Pam and Life Choice, and Simmons Co.'s mattress. It also picked up more work from Philip Morris Cos. and McDonald's Corp. But it lost Toys "R" Us to WPP Group's Young & Rubicam brand agencies, as well as accounts from shuttered unit LB Works including Gateway and Lexmark International.

management: The agency strengthened U.S. management in December when it named Ford Motor Co.'s Rich Stoddart as its new U.S. president. Meanwhile, Creative Chief Cheryl Berman eventually will relinquish her creative post to take a broader role within the agency. Questions linger over how long Ms. Berman will keep the top creative job and who will replace her.

Creative quality and effectiveness:

Animated spot for Pop-Tarts that ran during programming marathons on Nickelodeon humorously marked the passage of time. The "Our Stand" TV campaign for Allstate Insurance Co. starring Dennis Haysbert helped build the marketer's image in a commodity category.