100 Days of Leo Burnett, the Midwestern Master of Mascots DAY 45

Here’s today’s Leo:

It seems to us there should be less concern about the dimensions of a business. And considerably more concern about its heartbeat — the value, zest and spirit behind its physical and financial façade” — Leo Burnett

Leo Burnett understood that corporations and our institutions are really artifacts of human fiction — and they are held together by their stories which we tell. In order to survive as an idea, nearly everything that humanity creates needs to generate a mutual societal agreement that “this is what we believe”; and that belief becomes deeply routed in our collective psyche. That’s why we’re so outraged when an institution betrays our trust — they are breaking our agreed fiction about that institution, and as a result we feel manipulated. There’s nothing worse than falling in love with a story; following the journey of the protagonist; and cheering the victory than to find out the whole thing was a fraud. It’s one of the reasons why when we hear about evil done by institutions we assume to inherently evil already, it’s not that exciting. It’s what we expect. But when we find out Lance Armstrong has been doping all these years? Woe betide the person who breaks the public trust…

One of our greatest corporate storytellers is McDonald’s. Here’s a Leo Burnett classic of the form, focused on cleanliness (“if you’ve got time to lean; you’ve got time to clean”):

#madmen #advertising @LeoBurnett #LeoBurnett @McDonalds #McDonalds

Continue to Day 46