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Leo Burnett Reviews

Updated May 24, 2017
131 reviews

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Leo Burnett Chairman and CEO Tom Bernardin
Tom Bernardin
43 Ratings

131 Employee Reviews

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  1. Helpful (2)

    ""It's not the only game... but it may be the best game in town.""

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Chicago, IL
    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Leo Burnett full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Work/Life Balance - ...Even for some of the creatives.
    People - Brilliant, creative, fun people who, even if they aren't engaged by their daily work, have fascinating interests and side hustles. If you're on a happier, healthier team, you'll probably want to be best friends with your colleagues.
    Clients - If your book doesn't matter, you can definitely boast about working on some of the most high profile clients in the world. On the other hand, clients and agency tend to be conservative and old fashioned -- we're not putting out the most innovative work by a long shot.
    Perks - Summer days, a wonderful private gym, gorgeous offices with stunning views, solid health insurance, lots of catered meals, insane parties, PTO for volunteering.
    Pro Bono - Great pro bono opportunities... if you can find your way to them through the organizational mess.
    LBU - Leo Burnett University has some great professional development opportunities. I took a public speaking and presentation class that literally changed my life.

    Cons

    Bureaucratic Disaster - The organization is so beyond bloated that it's impossible to change clients, pivot roles, or grow immensely in any respect, which leads me to...
    Talent - Almost no chance to grow one's career by staying in the agency. Between the worst talent management (talent manager for strategy, I'm looking at you) I've ever encountered, near constant hiring freezes, and insane organizational politics, getting a promotion or raise is almost unheard of. You really have to advocate for yourself and have strong allies in this organization... and, if you do push for what you want, you'll make enemies. The people who should support your career development - managers, functional team heads - rarely do.
    Holding Company Relationship - ...Makes also zero sense. As far as I can tell, having to pass everything through Paris merely slows already frustratingly long internal processes. Holding company doesn't do much to foster unity and collaboration across partner agencies and competencies either.
    Lack of Vision - Especially with the heavily shifting leadership of late. North America and Chicago leadership parades out a new set of buzzwords and hash tags every few years to guide and inspire the organization, but they don't get disseminated to the people who execute. LB does not walk its talk.
    Rogue Regional Offices - The lack of a vision and mission coming from HQ filters down to regional and international level, which is deeply dysfunctional, disorganized, and the opposite of buttoned-up.
    Out of Touch Leadership - Management -- on client team and functional levels -- is rarely aware of the pain points of those in the trenches. When entry and mid level employees approach management to try to make changes and improve processes, they're frequently lashed out at as the source of these issues or downright disregarded.
    High Turnover - I mean, it's an agency. 'Nuff said. And there's no way to get ahead by staying there.
    Misleading Perks - Reading about organizational initiatives (global mobility, volunteer work, employee orgs, training opportunities, etc.) it's easy to get excited about LB. In actuality, getting to take advantage of these perks is a lot harder than it should be and many rarely come to fruition for any employees.

    Oh, and the Chicago office has the world's worst coffee.

    Advice to Management

    Spend more time in the trenches to get a better understanding of where your business actually is and how your employees and clients actually feel. Stop casting such a wide net in terms of service offerings and grow the competencies the agency is known for. Improve partner agency relations. Invest in your good employees so that they don't keep leaving and cut the fat from the upper levels. Set agency-wide goals and initiatives that are achievable and make a difference - not just lip service. (#reverseforkindless, lol) Keep fostering a culture of creativity and congeniality - but actually walk your talk. Improve the coffee.


  2. Helpful (1)

    "Big company about to become bigger (but not in a good way)"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Associate Creative Director in Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Associate Creative Director in Chicago, IL
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Leo Burnett full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    - first off, it's what you make of it. There will be those who love Leo Burentt Chicago (with reason). Likewise, there will be those who hate it (with reason). I spent six years there and had a mixed bag, but am happy with what it lead me to.
    - smart, nice people (in general)
    - can have comfortable work hours or be crazy depending on what you want
    - big name clients (although other big ones have left in recent years)
    - top management is trying to become more with the people (physically changed offices to be on the floors with those who do the work)
    - recognize they need to change to fit today's ad world (but is it too late?)
    - management seems to be fairly open and has agency wide meetings to discuss big happenings
    - known for "The Breakfast" (its annual over-the-top Christmas party. It's great if you're young, those who have been around a while may prefer a Christmas bonus instead (my sample size for asking that question to fellow employees is fairly small, but I'm confident if they were to actually ask that question, they'd have to strongly consider dropping the breakfast)

    Cons

    - huge company that is slow to adapt and it may be too late to even adapt at this point (I don't want to say they're doomed - success at ad agencies is often cyclical, but unless they get smaller, I don't see good things happening)
    - Publicis (the holding company) is having much more influence on the agency with its "Power of One" philosophy which is (in my opinion) the opposite of what needs to happen. Publicis overall is now running major pitches and using all-stars from around the world as well as their top management to do the work. This results in people who won't be doing the day-to-day work pitching the business and confusing the client.
    - far too much emphasis on awards and not on work that sells the product. It is advertising - not art. And to pretend it's art is folly.
    - very hard to move up within the company. Leo Burnett is top heavy (that's in the process of changing as more and more people are leaving and layoffs are around the corner)
    - agency management needs to recognize those who actually do the work and prepare to promote young talent from within rather than handing everything to those who have been around forever and are more interested in maintaining the status quo and their jobs than shaking things up.

    Advice to Management

    - get smaller before you get bigger (although Publicis makes that call, not you - and that's the main problem)
    - buy yourself back from Publicis or prepare to take Leo's name off the door because if you can't do that, Leo Burnett Chicago is going to be "Publicis Chicago" in the next five years.


  3. "Losing its way"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Chicago, IL
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Chicago, IL
    Neutral Outlook

    I have been working at Leo Burnett full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    Some of the very best people in the business

    Cons

    struggling with self preservation among changes in Publicis Groupe restructuring,

    Advice to Management

    fight to hold onto the Leo Burnett identity and DNA of what makes this agency so special


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  5. "Diverse working environment"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Account Executive in Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Senior Account Executive in Chicago, IL
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Leo Burnett full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    The agency has a lot of fun parties and you get an anniversary bonus every year. The holiday party is awesome

    Cons

    I worked on the Account Service department and it was broken down into operations and communications. I felt this was not very effective and efficient.


  6. "Benefits and drawbacks"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    Former Employee - Copywriter in Seattle, WA
    Former Employee - Copywriter in Seattle, WA

    Pros

    Great resume-builder and amazing opportunities for networking in and out of the advertising industry. Would recommend for those reasons alone.

    Cons

    Cutthroat work environment leads to potential growth that's heavily tied to team and management -- luck of the draw in that case. Opportunities for upward mobility limited for those reasons.


  7. Helpful (3)

    "Good place, but oh, the Politics."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    Former Employee - Strategist in Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Strategist in Chicago, IL
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Leo Burnett full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Amazing resources.
    Many many good people.
    Cute perks like free beer.
    Nice cultural benefits like Artists in Residence.
    Big name agency brings in big names for interesting, healthy discussions.
    Benefits were amazing.

    Cons

    The politics are a complete nightmare.
    Oh dear lawd, don't have a computer problem ever.
    Some people need to delete their account.
    "Youth culture" = ageism in some departments.
    Publicis stranglehold.

    Advice to Management

    I feel for you. You're in a tough place. Either hand over the keys (to Publicis) or fight to keep them. The in-between space is killing people.


  8. "Purchasing Analyst"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Purchasing Analyst in Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Purchasing Analyst in Chicago, IL
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Advertise for large companies so they get a lot of perks.
    The people are nice
    Every floor has a nice break room

    Cons

    Poor management
    Very disorganized
    Pay was bad

    Advice to Management

    They should focus more time and resources on the finance team. Everything is messed up due to lack of appreciation.


  9. Helpful (2)

    "Doesn't promote the hard workers"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Manager in Chicago, IL
    Current Employee - Manager in Chicago, IL
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Good benefits
    Great Paid time off
    Killer Holiday party
    For the most part, good people
    Causal dress atmosphere

    Cons

    Politics politics. Lack of advancement careerwise. Promotion of people who do not deserve it. Lack of raises or bonus for most employees. Account management promises more than can be delivered.

    Advice to Management

    Leo Burnett is behind the times. Stop thinking print!! Think digitally. Eventually your workforce is going to leave if you burn them out.


  10. "unpaid internship"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Intern - Art Director in New York, NY
    Former Intern - Art Director in New York, NY
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook

    I worked at Leo Burnett as an intern (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Staff really tried their best to have me involved, even tough it was a slower time in the office due to summer season.

    Cons

    the internship was unpaid which made it a little bit unfair.


  11. "Apples to Apples"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Chicago, IL
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Chicago, IL
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook

    I have been working at Leo Burnett full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Good benefits and smart people.

    Cons

    Not enough creative diversity and too many brands that negatively impact our planet.

    Advice to Management

    It's not about the money. It's about the voice.


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