Leo Burnett USA

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Agency rating: 3.5

Bcom3 Group's Leo Burnett USA, Chicago, had an extremely active year, hauling in more than $600 million in net new billings and naming a new management team.

It moved up Brad Brinegar to the post of CEO, Burnett USA, succeeding Linda Wolf as she ascended to the office of chairman-CEO of Burnett Worldwide.

New business, topped by the acquisition of the U.S. Postal Service, U.S. Army and the global Polaroid Corp. accounts, outpaced the losses.

Burnett's Semiconductor portion of Motorola's business was consolidated at Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide, New York. Toysrus.com and Pillsbury businesses were rerouted to sibling Bcom3 shops D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles, Los Angeles and New York, respectively. Another $85 million in additional business from existing clients came from two McDonald's Corp. co-ops.

General Motors Corp.'s move to phase out its Oldsmobile brand puts Burnett in a holding pattern for new auto clients.

On the creative front, the agency showed sparks of brilliance with the continuing Kraft Foods' Altoids campaign and Hallmark Cards commercials. Overall, its portfolio fell short in achieving its potential to break through the mainstream sameness of package-goods advertising. Perhaps the agency's November 2000 creative department shuffle that also established creative "ad ranger" teams will allow Bur-

netters to break through the mold.


Watch for staff cuts at the Chicago headquarters to continue through the first half as it grapples with the Olds and Kraft losses.

Last year's rating: 3.5

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