Leo Burnett is to acquire the digital agency Hard Reality and merge
it with its direct marketing operation Leonardo, in a move that will see
the Hard Reality brand dropped from the London market.
Burnett bought a minority stake in Hard Reality in November 1998 but has
moved to acquire the agency in order to offer digital and direct
services under one roof. The merged agency will retain the Leonardo
Leonardo's partners, Steve Barton, Chris Cunnane and Gary Sharpen, will
manage the agency alongside the Hard Reality partners, Gabriel Ratcliffe
and Mark Westall. Barton is become the chief executive of the
Though Hard Reality has grown quickly over the past three years, it is
thought that Burnett wanted to have firmer control over its future
direction and add senior management skills to its team. The new
operation claims billings of pounds 30 million.
Barton said that there would be no job losses and no client
Leonardo will continue to be based at Burnett's Sloane Avenue
'Some agencies have got it right, others haven't. We've taken a hard
look at what the competition has done and learned from their successes
and failures. The key is to respect different craft skills and creative
processes, while integrating strategic functions,' Barton said.