80 years since the first Leo Burnett bowl of apples

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, LEO BURNETT! When Leo Burnett opened his new advertising agency on August 5, 1935, during the Great Depression, he brightened the office with a bowl of red apples. A newspaper columnist wrote that it wouldn’t be long before Burnett started selling apples on the street rather than giving them away.

Leo Burnett, a Michigan native, started his eponymous agency with $50,000 in capital, eight employees and three clients in a suite in the Palmer House.

Today it is the largest US ad agency and the seventh largest in the world. Owned by Publicis Groupe S.A., it has a global network of 9,000 employees in 86 offices.

While it’s impossible to find separate Leo Burnett billings from Publicis, it was reported in 2010 that the agency was responsible for more than 25% of all ad billings in Chicago: $2.4 billion in local billings out of $7.7 billion for the city. Billings have increased by several billion dollars since then.

For inspiration on this special occasion, see this video of Leo Burnett giving his iconic speech, “When to take my name off the door,” which he delivered June 7, 1971 to the agency, pledging he’d to cut back working only three days a week due to recent health problems.

NEW AT SEED MEDIA, Roy Skillicorn’s rep company, is Chicago-based comedy director Larry Zeigelman, becoming the seventh director on the roster, reports Jessica Rae, Seed’s head of sales.

Ziegelman spent 12 years at DDB as an ACD and has been directing commercials for more than nine years.  He has collaborated with some of the finest American and British spot directors.

His first comedy short, “Coffee Break,” did very well on the festival circuit with eight screenings to date.

Skillicorn’s daughter, Rae, who joined Seed Media three months ago from a Nashville-based music career, makes it all in the family. Her brother Nathan Skillicorn also heads a local rep firm.  Rae’s direct phone is 312/343-3750.  

THE SAN JOSE GROUP’S newest account is Carl Buddig deli meats, “which is committed to reaching the Hispanic market,” says Tom Buddig, EVP/marketing. The account started out with digital, out of home, video and radio spots.

The agency also launched a social media-driven “Buddig Taste Challenge,” whereby well known Latina food bloggers competed to see who could bring the most Latin flavor to the brand’s deli meats.

ARU BROUGHT ABOARD Ana de Insam, a bilingual composer/sound designer from Bogotá, Columbia, to spearhead sound design for the Hispanic market, starting with a Purina pet foods campaign for Lapiz.

With a degree in Recording Arts and Music Production from the Center of Art and Technology in Buenos Aires, Argentina, de Insam has been working in audio for nine years.  She also worked on popular TV shows for Teleset, S.A. a division of Sony Pictures in Bogotá.

LIZ LAINE REPS, which previously had repped New York-based, award-winning Quietman for seven years, has reunited with the full-service production/post design and visual effects company, whose Recent projects include Pepsi “Halftime” with Hungry Man, and McDonald’s “Monopoly” with Pytka.

Liz Laine Reps’ principals are Liz Shaw, Chicago, Elena Oliveras, New York and Rachael Fendrich, L.A.

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