Close-Up: Bandmaster Burley takes the baton at Burnett

Can Jonathan Burley get the 40-strong creative department to sing from the same songsheet? Noel Bussey investigates.

For all his creative credentials, and a spell as creative director at HHCL\Red Cell not withstanding, Jonathan Burley is relatively green when it comes to running a creative department. Especially one as big as Leo Burnett's, with more than 40 creatives.

The pressure doesn't appear to faze him, however. "It makes my job easy, because I'll get them to do all the work and take all of the credit," he says.

Jokes aside, Burley's task will be to get Burnett's heavyweight creatives to work more closely together and galvanise a department that hasn't had a strong sense of direction in recent months.

Paul Lawson, the managing director of Burnett, who will form the core partnership with Burley and who worked with him at WCRS, is confident that he has hired the right man for the job. "Jon has talent and respect and will use the creative directors to their best ability and bring harmony to the department.

"He also knows how to utilise the mechanisms in place to push the ambitions of our creative product throughout the entire agency as well as to clients. He will bring a real credibility to our product and our pitches," he adds.

For himself, Burley hopes to bring enthusiasm and a love of advertising back into Kensington Village.

He says: "In my opinion, the best ad in the world is the prostitute card that says: 'I love my job.' I still get that feeling about advertising. It's this love of the work that I am going to instil back into the department and the agency, from the planners to the account teams."

He is also hoping to bring this enthusiasm to new business. Recently, the agency has been adept at getting on to lists and has impressive conversion rates. However, the really big accounts, such as Sainsbury's, have consistently eluded it.

Burley believes confidence in the product will help this. "At HHCL, every piece of work we created felt like a pitch. The whole set-up of the place was about new business and it really enthused the agency."

It's obvious from listening to Burley talk that he has many fond memories of his days with Steve Henry and the gang. He stops himself regularly when he realises he has mentioned HHCL again.

"Obviously, I had a great time there and I learned a lot about creativity and the feel of an agency, but I know I can't make Leo Burnett into another HHCL, and I wouldn't want to. It just won't work," he says.

But he does realise that the perception of Burnett in the wider industry does need to be changed.

"The problem is that we don't shout about our work enough. The 'Spider-Man' poster was brilliant, but no-one realised it was us," he says. "We need to shout more. Luckily, I'm a gobby bastard, so I'm going to start doing that."

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