Leo Burnett’s Technology Unit Enjoying S.F.

Leo Burnett Technology Group is experiencing its own gold rush since opening a San Francisco office last August.
The technology unit of Chicago-based Leo Burnett had aimed to hit $14 million in billings by the end of 1999, but instead reached $65 million, according to president Robert Ahearn.
One of the largest new accounts is CarStation.com, a $15 million piece of business the agency landed in November. CarStation is an auto repair e-commerce portal that allows end-users to track claims, estimates, parts and service. Ronald E. Goldsberry, a former senior Ford Motor Co. executive, was recently appointed chairman of the San Francisco company.
“Everybody relates to the problems of auto repair,” Ahearn said. “Here we have the Web stepping in to correct a process that’s broken.”
CarStation marketing director Mike Barrett pointed to LBTG’s technology expertise and marketing resources as compelling reasons for its selection. “I feel we’ll do great things together,” he said.
Leo Burnett is assisting with brand development and strategic planning and in March will launch an integrated ad campaign, including print, online, broadcast and radio, according to Ahearn.
Other new clients for the technology group include UpShot.com, a Mountain View, Calif.-based sales force automation provider; and Check Point, a Redwood Shores, Calif., subsidiary of an Israel-based Internet security firm.
Ahearn wouldn’t disclose the size of those accounts, except to say that when combined with CarStation, billings top $30 million. Other clients include HotLinks, Merant and JSB’s SurfControl business.
The agency now has 20 employees and a 5,000-square-foot office, but Ahearn is looking to triple the size of the work space and hire additional staff by May. “We can’t hire people fast enough,” he said. “It’s going gangbusters.”