Burnett could use big ideas for new bank account

Rich Stoddart, Leo Burnett president

Who knew?  Chicago’s very own Rich Stoddart is a big fan of big ideas in advertising.

Late Monday, Stoddart, president of Leo Burnett North America was openly crowing about the concept of the big idea in his statement attached to the announcement that Burnett/Chicago has picked up the Fifth Third Bancorp account. Olson/Minneapolis was the previous agency of record. 

Billings on the Fifth Third account were not disclosed, but Burnett will handle advertising, digital and marketing communications for the Cincinnati-based financial institution. 

Stoddart said of the new business win:  “Partnering with Fifth Third provides an amazing opportunity to apply our creativity and leverage something we are really good at  — developing big ideas across the entire marketing landscape.”  So there.

We can only hope the big ideas Burnett produces for Fifth Third are significantly more impressive than those the agency offered up for Washington Mutual, which fell on hard times and was swallowed up three years ago by banking behemoth Chase, which has McGarryBowen as its agency of record.

During the time Burnett had the WaMu account, the agency managed to do some of the most dreadful advertising of the past decade — a lot of it having to do with a bunch of crazed bankers kept in a holding pen.

The WaMu work was supposed to be offbeat (not a Burnett strong suit) and attention-grabbing.  It managed only to be deeply embarrassing.

We can’t imagine that Burnett chief creative officer Susan Credle, who was NOT at the helm during the sorry WaMu era, would ever allow stuff of such a low order to be green lighted.

Actress/singer Paige Davis enlivened earlier Fifth Third spots

Going back six or so years, Fifth Third was actually doing some pretty interesting TV advertising featuring actress/singer/dancer Paige Davis.  

Davis’ considerable talents were very much in evidence in some peppy song-and-dance-focused work that definitely stood out in the banking category.

Perhaps Burnett can find some inspiration from revisiting those commercials, done by a small Cincinnati shop called Sunrise Advertising.

There were few clues about the reasons for the latest Fifth Third agency switch in Monday’s official announcement.  But in his statement Fifth Third chief marketing officer Larry Magnesen indicated unprecedented changes in technology and customer preferences partly prompted the switch. 

Key ad agency management changes can sometimes play a part too, but there’s no evidence as yet to suggest that was a major factor in this instance. 

Former Fifth Third shop Olson brought on board Dennis Ryan, late of Element 79/Chicago, as its new chief creative officer several months ago.  Ryan is certainly familiar with the banking category. He worked on the Harris Bank business at Element 79.


A couple of Chicago agencies have brought on board (or promoted) fresh talent in recent days.

Tris3ct new creative director, Chris Cancilla

Tris3ct/Chicago hired Chris Cancilla as executive creative director. Cancilla most recently was a group creative director at Young & Rubicam/Chicago, where he worked on Sears, Hilton Hotels, Dave & Buster’s and the American Red Cross.

Young & Rubicam, of course, recently lost the Sears brand work business to McGarryBowen.  

“With several recent new business wins, the agency has achieved a scale that makes an addition like Chris not only possible, but necessary,” said Paul Kuzma, chief creative officer at Tris3ct.

At Euro RSCG/Chicago Elena Robinson will fill the newly created position of director of integrated production.  Robinson previously worked at Liquid Thread and at IP Pixel.

Lisa Leone also is coming on board at Euro RSCG as a creative director. She will work on the Reynolds, Effen, Sauza, Hornitos and Pucker accounts.  Most recently, Leone was a freelance creative working with several agencies, including DDB, Y& R and Campbell Mithun.

Separately, Euro RSCG/Chicago has promoted Michael Shirley to group creative director for digital initiatives.  Shirley will now oversee all aspects of the agency?s digital output. 

“Shirley is what all clients need: a creative leader who knows that the idea and brand come first, followed up with a young and modern understanding of digital and social tools,” said Euro RSCG/Chicago chief creative officer Jason Peterson.

Please contact Lewis Lazare at LewisL3@aol.com.