Leo Burnett Worldwide

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Leo Burnett Worldwide, Inc.
FoundedAugust 5, 1935; 85 years ago (1935-08-05)
FounderLeo Burnett
United States
Number of locations
85 offices worldwide
Number of employees
ParentPublicis Groupe
DivisionsArc Worldwide
Turner Duckworth

Leo Burnett Worldwide, Inc., also known as Leo Burnett Company, Inc., is an American advertising company, founded on August 5, 1935 in Chicago by Leo Burnett.[1]

In September 2002, the company was acquired by Publicis Groupe, the world's oldest and third largest advertising agency holding group and one of the largest agency networks.[2][3]


Leo Burnett Company, Inc. was founded on August 5, 1935 in Chicago by Leo Burnett, who had three accounts to start.[4][2] In 1944, the agency opened a branch office in New York City. In February 1967, the founder transferred all of his voting stock to a charitable organization. Billings were then "nearing $250 million."[5]

On March 20, 1967, the agency completed its acquisition of D.P. Brother & Co.[2] On June 8, 1971, the founder died at the age of 79.[6]

On November 3, 1999, Burnett and D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles, announced the creation of BDM. BDM was quickly renamed Bcom3. Roy Bostock was named Chairman and Roger Haupt was named CEO.

In September 2002, Bcom3 was acquired by Publicis Groupe.[7][2]

Brazil-based independent advertising agency, Tailor Made was acquired by Publicis in 2011 and merged with Leo Burnett Brazil to form Leo Burnett Tailor Made. At that time, clients included Fiat, Procter & Gamble, Emirates and Chrysler.[8]

Andrew Swinand became CEO in 2017.[9]



The Pillsbury Doughboy was created for the Pillsbury Company by Rudy Perz, a copywriter for Leo Burnett.[10]

Agency employee, Tom Rogers, created the character Charlie the Tuna for StarKist Tuna. The ad campaign added the phrase "Sorry Charlie" to the American lexicon.[11] StarKist still uses the spokesfish to represent the brand.[12]

StarKist's relationship with the Leo Burnett Company began in 1958 and continued after Heinz bought StarKist in 1963. For Heinz, the agency produced a series of television ads emphasizing the thickness of their ketchup brand, including a memorable ad featuring the Carly Simon song "Anticipation".[13]

The Jolly Green Giant and Sprout advertising icons came out of the agency. The Minnesota Valley Canning Company originally created the Jolly Green giant character as a large, cave-man looking character to draw attention of the size of their LeSeur peas. The Leo Burnett agency was hired to make the Jolly Green Giant more friendly-looking. In 1972, the Jolly Green Giant was joined by Sprout to appeal to children.[14][15]

Hamburger giant McDonald's began operations in India in 1996 and recruited Leo Burnett (India).[16]

Other products[edit]

In 1961, the agency created the "Dependability" campaign for the Maytag brand. The campaign featured actual consumer testimonials on the reliability of their appliances. The campaign evolved into a radio call-in show in Canada where an appliance repairman would offer advice to customers. In 1967, the 'Ol Lonely character debuted on television. Jesse White played the role of the lonely Maytag repairman until 1989 when he was replaced by actor Gordon Jump.[17]

The agency guided Philip Morris (now part of Altria Group) in building Marlboro into a global brand, with an emphasis on manliness as typified by the image of the Marlboro Man on the American Frontier.[18][19][20] Previously the brand was "a feminine brand."[5][21]:p.LB-6

Burnett created the popular brand mascot Morris the Cat for 9Lives cat food. Several dozen television commercials featuring the "finicky" eater were produced from 1969 until Burnett ended their relationship with parent company Heinz in 1994.[13]


Guarita State Park was one of several articles affected by a covert advertising campaign. The article's previous main image was briefly replaced by one prominently featuring a man in a North Face jacket.

In the English dub of the Pokémon: The Johto Journeys episode The Whistle Stop, originally aired 2 December 2000, the character James gets partially swallowed by his Victreebell, and while struggling utters garbled dialogue consisting of the phrase "Leo Burnett and 4Kids are the Devil!" backmasked. Eric Stuart, James' English voice actor at the time, later explained[22] that this was in protest of the companies' decision to stop compensating Pokémon voice actors for use of their audio clips in promos for the show. This scene was redubbed in home releases.

In 2019, Brazilian-based subsidiary Leo Burnett Tailor Made engaged in product placement on Wikipedia, in which they placed images advertising The North Face products on Wikipedia,[23][24][25] and advertised that they had done so in a video posted on YouTube.[26][27] Once this was discovered, Wikipedia volunteers removed the images,[28] and the Wikimedia Foundation released a statement condemning Leo Burnett Tailor Made's use of Wikipedia for product placement.[29]

The North Face posted a response as a reply on Twitter, stating that they had ended the campaign and that "We believe deeply in Wikipedia’s mission and apologize for engaging in activity inconsistent with those principles."[30]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Company Overview of Leo Burnett Company, Inc". Bloomberg. Retrieved 10 April 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d "Leo Burnett Co". Retrieved 2018-05-31.
  3. ^ "Leo Burnett Worldwide, Inc.: Private Company Information - Businessweek". Businessweek.com.
  4. ^ "Company Overview of Leo Burnett Company, Inc". Bloomberg. Retrieved 10 April 2018.
  5. ^ a b "Leo Burnett, still reaching for the stars after 60 years". Advertising Age. July 31, 1995.
  6. ^ "Leo Burnett, 79, Led Ad Agency". The New York Times. 1971-06-09. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2018-05-31.
  7. ^ "Leo Burnett Worldwide, Inc.: Private Company Information - Businessweek". Businessweek.com.
  8. ^ "Publicis Groupe buys into Brazilian agency to bolster Leo Burnett". www.campaignlive.co.uk. Retrieved 2019-05-30.
  9. ^ "Leo Burnett Worldwide names new CEO". Crain's Chicago Business. January 27, 2016. Retrieved 2017-11-15.
  10. ^ Sam Roberts (2010-04-03). "Rudolph Perz, Creator of Pillsbury's Doughboy, Dies at 89". The New York Times. Retrieved 2018-10-02.
  11. ^ McCarthy, Michael (17 November 1997). "Charlie the Tuna Returns to Ads And More Corporate Rejection". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 8 December 2019.
  12. ^ Holley, Joe (2005-07-08). "Charlie the Tuna Creator Tom Rogers Dies". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2018-04-06.
  13. ^ a b "A Parting of Ways for Heinz And Morris the Cat's Creator". The New York Times. 24 November 1994. Retrieved 8 December 2019.
  14. ^ "Character of the Week: Jolly Green Giant". Retro Planet. 2009-02-28. Retrieved 2018-04-30.
  15. ^ Taylor, Heather (2017-08-28). "The Story of Green Giant's Sprout". AW360. Retrieved 2018-04-30.
  16. ^ William M. O'Barr, "Advertising in India." Advertising & Society Review 9#3 (2008): 1-33.
  17. ^ "Still Lonely After All These Years (8/1)". Retrieved 2018-05-18.
  18. ^ Navid Hafez, and P. M. Ling. "How Philip Morris built Marlboro into a global brand for young adults: implications for international tobacco control." Tobacco control 14.4 (2005): 262-271.
  19. ^ John G. Blair, "Cowboys, Europe and smoke: Marlboro in the saddle." in Rob Kroes and Michael P. Malone, eds., The American West: As seen by Europeans and Americans (1989): 360-83.
  20. ^ Hilary Cooperman and Relli Shechter. "Branding the Riders: 'Marlboro Country' and the Formation of a New Middle Class in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey." New global studies 2#3 (2008).
  21. ^ "Burnett repositioned Marlboro cigarettes from a feminine brand to one that shouted masculinity."
  22. ^ Yui-senpai (2011-08-21). Eric Stuart answers a long-wondered question about Pokémon. Youtube. Retrieved 2020-06-05.
  23. ^ "Egg on North Face: Wikipedia furious after glamp-wear giant swaps article pics for sneaky ad shots – and even brags about it in a video • The Register Forums". forums.theregister.co.uk. Retrieved 2019-05-30.
  24. ^ Hern, Alex (30 May 2019). "North Face criticised for replacing Wikipedia pics with branded shots". The Guardian. Retrieved 30 May 2019.
  25. ^ McCarthy, John (30 May 2019). "The North Face axes 'unethical' Wikipedia product placement campaign by Leo Burnett". The Drum. Retrieved 30 May 2019.
  26. ^ "The North Face Breaches Wikipedia Terms Of Service To Reach Top Of Google Search Results". www.mediapost.com. Retrieved 2019-05-30.
  27. ^ Fernando H Patucci (2019-05-24), The North Face / Top Of Images, retrieved 2019-05-30
  28. ^ Lee, Dami (2019-05-29). "North Face tried to scam Wikipedia to get its products to the top of Google search". The Verge. Retrieved 2019-05-30.
  29. ^ "Let's talk about The North Face defacing Wikipedia". Wikimedia Foundation. 2019-05-29. Retrieved 2019-05-30.
  30. ^ @thenorthface (May 29, 2019). "@Wikipedia @LeoBurnett We believe deeply in @Wikipedia's mission and apologize for engaging in activity inconsistent with those principles. Effective immediately, we have ended the campaign and moving forward, we'll commit to ensuring that our teams and vendors are better trained on the site policies" (Tweet). Retrieved May 29, 2019 – via Twitter.

External links[edit]