Burnett Realigns Top Creatives

Leo Burnett has reassigned creative duties by client among seven executive creative directors and dubbed five others “ad rangers” to assist where needed.

The changes follow the abrupt departure of ECD Jeff Finkler [Adweek, Nov. 6], who headed creative efforts for Procter & Gamble, Coca-Cola and Morgan Stanley Dean Witter.

“Some of it is a result of Jeff leaving, and condensing those accounts,” said Cheryl Berman, the Chicago shop’s chief creative officer. “Some of it is a chance to freshen the work.

“It’s really about casting the right people with the right clients. We needed a shakeup for people to change what they’re working on,” she said.

Jonathan Hoffman will take over P&G brands Dryel, Pert, Luvs and Noxema, while Lisa Bennett will oversee creative on the Cincinnati company’s Tampax, Secret and Vidal Sassoon brands. Bennett will also oversee creative on the agency’s Coca-Cola business, while Bob Akers will pick up duties on the MSDW account.

McDonald’s is now under Akers, while Nintendo and mySimon.com were shifted to Hoffman’s group. Bennett adds the agency’s new U.S. Postal Service, Rand McNally and Ball Park Franks accounts.

The realignment was spurred by the arrival of some new accounts, but also grew out of meetings Berman had with clients.

“Sometimes they think it’s great, and sometimes you hear what they wish they were getting,” Berman said.

Berman herself will oversee the agency’s Hallmark, Disney and Oldsmobile creative. The agency is currently pitching against two other shops to keep the latter account. “It means we’re going to do what we can to keep this business,” Berman said of her involvement on the account.

Some assignments remain unchanged. Gerry Miller will continue to oversee creative on the shop’s healthcare-oriented clients; Mark Faulkner and Steffan Postaer keep Altoids, Maytag/Jenn-Air and several emerging technology brands; and Mike Colt stays with Philip Morris creative and adds the U.S. Army.

The five roaming executive creative directors—Berman’s so-called “ad rangers”—are Ned Crowley, Jon Moore, Don Austen, Mark Oosthuizen and Dave Linne. They will work on accounts where needed and be “intensely involved” in new business pitches, Berman said.

“I’m trying to give us a lot of options on a lot of things,” Berman said. “We need to have some new resources and bench strength.”