A Day in the Life at the Leo Burnett Agency

We have been lucky enough to follow Leo Burnett Art Director Djordje Joksimovic for a day around legendary Agency Leo Burnett. Leo Burnett created iconic symbols of American-branded products.
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It was his creation of the Marlboro Man, the Jolly Green Giant, and Tony the Tiger that would make his small mid-western company one of the largest, most sought-after agencies in the world. The Marlboro Man and the Jolly Green Giant are said to be two of three most recognised characters in the world (with Ronald McDonald).

A Day in the Life at the Leo Burnett Agency

Leo Burnett’s iconic work that kick started a career spanning decades and dozens of multi-national agencies: The Malboro Man, The Jolly Green Giant and Tony the Tiger.

Big ideas come from the big pencil;

That is the statement behind Leo Burnett’s thinking, along with a humankind approach. The single greatest thing for Leo and Design Schools are its people. In the end it all comes down to the people you meet, talk to, network with, work with, love, avoid, respect and so on. I have a great opportunity to work with top professionals from many different areas of expertise, every day. The advice, opinions, views, knowledge and skill set of each individual at Leo offers me a network of highly skilled assistance at my fingertips, that’s priceless.

Leo Burnett Belgrade, I believe has a specific climate, we call it a ‘relaxed’ atmosphere. Your priority at work is to finish your days duties regardless of when you arrive. Working hours are 9am to 5pm, however many people arrive after 10. So long as you meet the requirements of an 8hr day. This atmosphere enables you to feel free to find your own private way of functioning to your best advantage. I believe our ‘relaxed’ atmosphere, and different schedules can be difficult for the Accounts dept. when trying to gather us all for a group meeting. However, designers are those lay-back, cool and often quiet people that you handle with care, their genius allows them to invent ‘stuff’ from scratch, and that kind of talent requires kit gloves and flexibility!

One of the greatest challenges with being a ‘creative’ in this kind of work environment is the delicate juggling between the ‘Logical’ and ‘Creative’ parts of the agency. To some extent an agency can be described as a similar set up to the two sides of your brain. The Logical side represents all non-designers such as the Accounts, Traffic and Media departments. The Creative side with Designers, Copywriters, the Creative and Art dept. The Creatives create fantasy, and the Logicals help refine fantasy to meet the goals of communication, and the logistics of the business. In unison the two sides perfect the storytelling to enhance sales. In the words of infamous Director, Author and Producer Hermann Vaske.

Advertising is the fine art of separating people from their money

Image Campaign Client: Heinz Agency Location: Paris, France Creative Director: Stephan Ferens » Copywriter / Art Director: Eric Esculier.

The most rewarding aspect, once every detail of a campaigns communication has been perfected, is feedback. We receive this feedback when the campaign ‘hits the streets’. This is the ‘litmus test’. The public. The truth, the moment that you learn whether you invested yourself in something that can make you feel accomplishment and pride or feel like hell!

Learning is a constant process and campaigns definitely enhance your learning, however I believe that learning really starts on the day you enter any office or design school, in my case Leo Burnett. Advertising can be a tough world, and each day can takes its toll. Every day you bury yet another unused idea that seemed as bright as a star. Yet, as this industry requires, we continue to ‘reach for the stars’ because we want to be the best. Advertising guru Paul Arden once said “It’s not how good you are, it’s how good you want to be!” He was damn right too. This is the quote that has most inspired me in my career and my life. The better you want to be, the better colleagues you will have, the more happiness you will spread, the more people you will inspire and the more people will love you for it. That is the simplest life philosophy. Once again Leo was right it all comes down to people, ourselves included.

Image Campaign Client: McDonalds Leo Burnett Chicago Global Chief Creative Officer: Mark Tutssel Chief Creative Officer: John Condon EVP/Creative Group Head: John Montgomery Creative Directors: V. Cook, G. Fox-Robertson, B. Shembeda, A. Gross

Working in an environment of creatives one is constantly aware of the fact that creative people have big egos! We insist on how great we are and how amazing our design is. Working in this agency has taught me that we should always share our knowledge with others, no matter how big your ego, or almighty your position. (People that don’t share their ideas, probably don’t have many of them anyway). Leo Burnett Belgrade has 120 employees, and many walls, however, colleagues are not segregated by departments and teams, our agency has moved the barriers between us, we support and enrich each others ideas. Our philosophy is that if we haven’t moved these metaphorical barriers our day has been unproductive… useless. Our attitude to healthy competition and challenge sees us having some great nights out after a synergy of successes.

Image Campaign Client: Pirelli Leo Burnett, Milan, Italy Global Chief Creative Directors: Enrico Dorizza, Sergio Rodriguez Art Director: Roberto Piazza Copywriter: Matteo Lazzarini

Although our barriers are less than in other more traditional agencies we do team up (Art Director and Copywriter for example) to work together in 'micro7rsquo; environments, presenting ideas and working long hours on pitches for clients. We do what we can to keep the agency’s spirit alive and beating. Like the rhythm that exudes from the speakers of my iTunes playlist. I have earnt the role as the agency’s DJ. I play music to over 40 people on my floor. I keep them happy! one of the perks of being a ‘creative’.

And so starts another day… I’m getting up, fresh enough so I can rewind the film in my head of how I got here. A spanking new morning in Belgrade 2009, clean head, big drive, full batteries, after so many trips, boarding passes, frequent desk changes, computer desktops, cityscapes and music on iTunes. I start with a double shot of coffee, warm milk with one sugar, please. Made from the Communal Leo Burnett coffee machine… of course!

Take a peak in the life of an Art Director at Leo Burnett

Video created by Djordje Joksimovic filmed by Zoran Jovanovic, Written by Marija Mladjenovic, prize winner in HumanKind Leo Burnett world challenge.

Definitions that you may find useful in this article

Copywriter has ultimate responsibility for an advertisement’s verbal or textual content, which often includes receiving the copy (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copywriter) information from the client.

Art Director An Art Director isn’t necessarily the head of an art department. He/She typically works in tandem with a copywriter. The team usually works together to devise an overall concept (also known as the “big idea”) for an ad, commercial, mailer, brochure, or other advertisement. An A.D. may come up with the headline or other copy, and the copywriter may suggest a visual or aesthetic approach. Each person usually welcomes suggestions and constructive criticism from the other. Ideally, the words and visual should not parrot each other; each should enhance or enlarge the other$#39;s meaning and effect.

Accounts Account Services or Account Management is somewhat the sales arm of the advertising agency. An account executive meets with the client to determine sales goals and creative strategy. They are then responsible for coordinating the creative, media, and production staff behind the campaign. Throughout the creative process, they keep in touch with the client to update them on the ad’s progress and gain feedback. Upon completion of the creative work, it is their job to ensure the ad’s production and placement.

Creative Director The CD oversees the design of branding and advertising for a client and ensures that the new branding and advertising fits in with the client’s requirements and the image they wish to promote for their company or product. The main aspects of this role are to interpret a client’s communications strategy and then develop proposed creative approaches and treatments that align with that strategy. Another is to initiate and stimulate creative ideas for and from everyone involved in the creative process. Creative directors normally oversee copywriters and art directors.

Traffic The traffic department regulates the flow of work in the agency. It is typically headed by a traffic manager (or system administrator). Traffic increases an agency’s efficiency and profitability through the reduction of false job starts, inappropriate job initiation, incomplete information sharing, over- and under-cost estimation, and the need for media extensions. In small agencies without a dedicated traffic manager, one employee may be responsible for managing workflow, gathering cost estimates and answering the phone, for example. Large agencies may have a traffic department of five or more employees

Featured Designer Djordje Joksimovic

Featured Agency Leo Burnett

Djordje is Art Director at Leo Burnett Belgrade.

Communication is a priority. Perception is everything. Design is the key.

What I’m Like? As a boy I dreamt about launching and flying a spacecraft, and was only happy if the other kids that played with me were happy too. Today I’m launching the brands that serve the purpose and help people to feel comfortable and happy about themselves. In fact, design is the way we talk to each other these days, and doing so in clear, direct, honest and interesting ways, we can make better things – and make things better.

Handstand To be unique, imaginative, simple and memorable by capturing people’s imagination to inspire them to be the best they can be.

Craftwork I create work, inspired through humanity to influence people’s behavior.

Rocket Science I help marketing people to make their brands part of people’s lives by understanding, inspiring, and activating human behavior.

Djordje’s Blog

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