Burnett’s Farmhouse brings new products to market

Paul Earle, Farmhouse executive director

LEO BURNETT’S NEW FARMHOUSE innovation and new venture center was named in honor of the agency founder’s Lake Zurich farmhouse that served as a senior management retreat in the 1960s. 

Today’s Burnett’s entrepreneurial Farmhouse mission is to conceive, develop and bring new products to market from the get-go and give tired products a new life.  It’s also described as a “do-tank” and not as a “think tank.”

One part of Farmhouse’s business is consultative, providing growth strategies, new product concepts, product designs, naming, and other services to clients.

The other part functions as principal, pursuing innovation either in alliance with other ventures, or focused on intellectual property originating at Leo Burnett itself.

“We have all the elements required to take a hands-on role in populating the marketplace with compelling new creations,” said executive director Paul Earle, who has the ideal CV to lead Farmhouse.

His former River West Brands, LLC focused on dormant brand acquisition and redevelopment.  After selling the company, he founded Paul Earle & Co., a branding and innovation consultancy.

Earlier, Earle worked in Kraft Foods brand management and started his marketing career at Saatchi & Saatchi Worldwide, New York, where he worked on the development of advertising, brand strategy and new product concepts for clients General Millers, British Airways, Johnson & Johnson, among others.

“Chicago is fast becoming a world class hub for new business creation, and we are thrilled to see Leo Burnett say ‘we’re in’ through Farmhouse. The kind of branding sophistication they bring can play an important role in our startup ecosystem,” said Kevin Willer, CEO of the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center, and co-founder of Google’s Chicago office.