Feminine Mystique

Burnett’s New LeoShe Unit Examines How Women View Themselves and Brands
CHICAGO–In line with the ongoing restructuring of its operations, Leo Burnett has created a new internal unit, LeoShe, to research issues of primary interest to women.
The unit’s core team consists of four agency vice presidents representing three different disciplines: creative director Jeanie Caggiano, planning director Denise Fedewa, senior planner Cherri Patel and account director Susan Wayne. They report to executive vice president Mary Bishop, managing director of the Burnett mini-agency that includes Procter & Gamble and Eli Lilly & Co.
In announcing the plan last year to reorganize Burnett into seven mini-agencies, chairman Rick Fizdale also said the agency would seek ways to gather the marketing expertise and research the agency has accumulated and find ways to make it more useful for clients. In line with that, according to Wayne, Bishop pitched Fizdale the idea of creating a cross-disciplinary team that would “keep the agency at the forefront in its understanding of women.”
The four core members can recruit additional participants from throughout the agency to work on research projects.
“A lot of Burnett brands target women. Between [P&G’s] Secret and [Tambrands’] Tampax alone, we’re marketing to half the women in the U.S.,” Wayne said. “The idea is for LeoShe to be more than a library [of secondary research]. It has to contribute new thinking as well.”
LeoShe’s first project, recently completed, is a study titled, “Bone Deep: What Beauty Is Today.” It provides insights into women’s perceptions of themselves and of beauty that will have an impact on strategic thinking through commercial casting choices for several clients, she said.
The research found substantial disparities in perceptions of beauty between white and African African women, for example. While 3 percent of Caucasian women rated themselves at the top of a 1-10 beauty scale, 33 percent of African American women considered themselves 10s.
That research will be available to the account teams on such female-targeted brands as Kellogg’s Special K, P&G’s Noxema and Philip Morris’ Virginia Slims, Wayne said.