Burnett Sets Client Alignments For First 3 Of Its 7 ‘mini-Agencies’

Leo Burnett is sticking to the plan it announced in September to divide the agency’s $2.5 billion U.S. operation into smaller units to foster closer client contact, faster response and less bureaucracy.
But it has modified its intention to sculpt these “mini-agencies” strictly along client business lines.
Burnett last week announced the structures for the first three of seven agencies-within-the-agency. These three will be operational at the beginning of 1998, with the remaining four to be established by next spring.
The units have been named Agency A, Agency B and Agency C. Each will determine its own formal name, as well as the details of its work processes and working environment.
“Originally, the pristine concept was to aggregate these mini-agencies by [business] type,” said Rick Fizdale, Burnett chairman and chief executive officer. “But as I emerged from my cocoon into the real world, it was clear that forcing that would disrupt client relationships and move too many people off accounts on which they have made valuable contributions.”
Perhaps four of the seven units will follow the business alignment ideal, Fizdale said. The rest “will be mini versions of the general agency” but still should offer all the benefits to staff and clients envisioned in the restructuring, he said. Each subagency will represent agency revenues of roughly $40-50 million, Fizdale said.
Agency A has a health and well-being theme, grouping clients Allstate Insurance, Eli Lilly & Co., Nature Made Vitamins, Northwestern Memorial Hospital and Procter & Gamble.
Agency B combines Coca-Cola Co., Dairy Management, First Brands, Kraft/Altoids, Pillsbury and United Distillers.
Agency C joins Morgan Stanley, Dean Witter & Discover; Miller Brewing (media only); the New York Stock Exchange; Philip Morris; and Philip Morris International.
Each subagency is headed by a managing director, a managing creative director, a managing planning director and an executive producer. The units report to Linda Wolf, group president, North America.