Advertising Legend Leo Burnett’s Wisdom

by buildingpharmabrands

Leo Burnett (October 21, 1891 – June 7, 1971) was one of the most creative men in the advertising business. Named as one of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century, he created some of the iconic campaigns such as Jolly Green Giants, Tony the Tiger, Pillsbury Doughboy and the famous Marlboro man etc. which are remembered even today.

Here are some of the nuggets of his advertising wisdom. They are as relevant today as they were in the 1960s.

1. There is an inherent drama in every product.

2. Steep yourself in your subject, work like hell, and love, honour, and obey your hunches.

3. When you reach for the stars you may not quite get one, but you won’t come up with a handful of mud either.

4. Curiosity about life in all of its aspects, I think is still the secret of great creative people.

5. Make it simple. Make it memorable. Make it inviting to look at. Make it fun to read.

6. What helps people, helps business.

7. If you cannot turn yourself into your customer, you probably shouldn’t be in the writing business at all.

8. There is no such thing as a permanent advertising success.

9. I have learned to respect ideas, wherever they come from. Often they come from clients. Account executives often have big creative ideas, regardless of what some writers think.

10. Regardless of the moral issue, dishonesty in advertising has proved very unprofitable.

11. Good advertising does not circulate information. It presents the public mind with desires and belief.

12. Anyone who thinks that people can be fooled or pushed around has an inaccurate and pretty low estimate of people.

Leo Burnett Company, the company that he founded was known for employee retention. He was a great visionary. He thought much ahead of his times and placed customer in the centre of everything in advertising and believed that the customer was in charge, much before Social Media was even conceived, where consumer controls the media!

Leo Burnett believed that loyalty towards the products that the agency advertises and deals with determines the character of the agency and its team. He wrote a three-page note titled, ‘Scratching the Back of the Hand that Feeds You,’ that spells these values impeccably to all the employees in his organisation on December 16, 1958. The higher-ups of Leo Burnett Company re-circulated  the memo , fifty-three years later as a reminder of these values to all the employees in December 2011. Click on Leo Burnett’s note below to read the complete note written by the legend himself:

Leo Burnett’s Note.

Image Source: Wikipedia