Burnett, Leo

Burnett, Leo

(bərnĕt`), 1891–1971, American advertising executive, b. St. Johns, Mich., grad. Univ. of Michigan (1914). He was a newspaper reporter and worked in advertising before moving to Chicago and opening (1935) his own ad agency, Leo Burnett Co., which he headed until 1967. Crafting ad campaigns that emphasized brand image, focused on the highly visual, stressed the essential quality of a product, and established strong emotional ties with the consumer, he was a prime developer of advertising's "Chicago school." Burnett's company was especially known for the creation, in the 1950s and 60s, of commercial icons that were particularly suited to symbolizing various products on the new medium of television. These included such characters as the Marlboro Man, the Jolly Green Giant, the Pillsbury Doughboy, Morris the Cat, and Tony the Tiger.

Bibliography

See his Communications of an Advertising Man (1961) and 100 Leo's (1995).

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Burnett, Leo

(1891–1971) advertising executive; born in St. Johns, Mich. After working on the creative side of midwestern advertising agencies, he founded and chaired his own Chicago agency, Leo Burnett Company, Inc. (1935–67), which became the fifth largest in the world. His books include Communications of an Advertising Man (1961).
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.