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Too good to be true. Sometimes, life has a funny way of lining things up when you least expect it. While filming a reality tv show sizzle reel in Chicago, Joseph Kenney, and Christopher Slater unexpectedly found themselves in the home of the late advertising executive Leo Burnett. They could sense the energy and creativity that electrified the ambiance of this beautiful home.

As they walked through Leo Burnett’s former home, they couldn’t help but imagine the advertising legend himself working on his iconic campaigns. While filming in various rooms in the home, they could almost picture him in his home office, surrounded by sketches and ideas for characters like the Keebler Elves, Jolly Green Giant, Pillsbury Doughboy, and Tony the Tiger.

They found it easy to imagine that Burnett’s home, in this stately home near Chicago’s storied North Shore, was where he felt inspired and creative. Did he often work on his campaigns at home, immersing himself in the world of his client’s brands? His attention to detail was legendary, and he worked tirelessly to create characters that would capture the hearts and minds of consumers, and campaigns that are woven into the fabric of modern advertising.

The Marlboro Man

One can only wonder if Leo Burnett created The Marlboro Man, one of his most famous campaigns in advertising history, on the third floor of this stunning home that dates back to 1907. Or did he craft the grizzled all-American character while in the cozy elevated nook attached to the kitchen? Or maybe on a cool evening from the spacious covered front porch? Wherever it may have been, Burnett changed the course of a product image worldwide.

In the 1950s, Marlboro was a brand of cigarettes that was primarily marketed to women, as filtered cigarettes were considered feminine. Burnett was tasked with creating a new advertising campaign that would appeal to men. He came up with the Marlboro Man, a rugged cowboy who embodied the spirit of the American West. The campaign was an instant success, and Marlboro became one of the most popular cigarette brands in the world.

The Jolly Green Giant

One of the first iconic characters reimagined by Burnett was The Jolly Green Giant. Introduced shortly after forming his agency in 1935, the Giant quickly became one of the most recognizable advertising characters in history. It’s possible that Burnett’s vision sprung to life as he saw the sun dancing through the canopy of the mature white oaks towering over the neighborhood while having coffee on the charming Burlington paver back patio.

Leo Burnette’s campaign was so successful that it led to the Burnett Company creating Sprout in 1972, and the five-word tagline jingle we all know.

Emotional Connections in Advertising

Burnett’s success in advertising was largely due to his ability to create characters and campaigns that resonated with consumers on an emotional level. He understood that advertising was more than just selling a product, it was about creating a connection with the consumer. Named one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people of the 20 century, Burnett believed storytelling was the key to creating a strong connection, and he worked tirelessly to create memorable and impactful campaigns.

Creative Ideas Can Change Lives

As Kenney and Slater explored Burnett’s former home, they felt inspired by his dedication to his craft and reminded how the ability to put creative ideas into action can change lives. They realized that Burnett’s legacy was more than just the campaigns he created, it was the way he approached advertising. His focus on storytelling, understanding the consumer, and building a positive and collaborative work environment continues to inspire advertising professionals around the world.

Leo Burnett was an advertising icon who created some of the most memorable and iconic advertising campaigns in American history. Slater remarked that Burnette’s exceptional skill in crafting relatable characters and engaging storylines that evoked an emotional response from the audience was unmatched.

According to Slater, companies must strive to establish emotional bonds with their customers, and when they succeed, it leads to something remarkable. Burnett was fervent in his efforts to understand the consumer and create campaigns that spoke directly to their needs and desires. Burnett’s dedication to his craft and his innovative approach to advertising continue to inspire advertising professionals today.

Burnett was the man who changed the world by selling things to their feelings.  316 Strategy Group seeks to honor his legacy by leveraging the power of emotional storytelling to help its clients connect with their target audience and create a lasting impact.

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