13 April and the temporary cessation of hostilities between Barker
and Souter (see opposite) led to a search for other dynamite internal
memos. Leo Burnett did not disappoint:
Thanks to a highly placed US snout we can reveal the existence of a memo
dated 9 February and sent by the recently retired Leo Burnett chairman
Rick Fizdale to a handful of the agency's top creative directors. It
focuses on Burnett's 2000 "breakfast reel" - an annual company
get-together where the agency's top work is showcased. Or not.
Burnett's former creative steward, who remains a vice- chairman of its
holding company, Bcom3, likens Burnett's 2000 creative product to a bird
"that has fallen to earth with a plop, lifeless".
"Even in the early stages of retirement," he rages, "I cannot shake the
nightmare of the US reel. So now, I lift my pen as a shareholder worried
about this investment."
Fizdale singles out ads for Burnett's blue-chip clients with his
sharpest words. An ad in test for Procter & Gamble's Pert shampoo
starring toy trolls "is so obvious from frame one that channel surfing
becomes an option".
A McDonald's teaser ad is "a waste of money, film and time". Two spots
for Kellogg's Rice Krispies Treats are "con-tenders for the worst
advertising, bar none, this company has ever made. It made me think our
creative de-partment is populated by artless 17-year-olds playing at
At times like this it is best to take the parochial route and remind
oneself that Leo Burnett London is capable of doing things with canned
fish and bears that its US sister shop can only dream of.