The Painful and Slow Death of a Giant

Leo Burnett has always been one of the giants in the world of advertising.

The Malaysia office was once the undisputed powerhouse of Malaysian advertising- creative and accounts wise. They had everything: multi-national clients to die for and multi-award winning creative teams, and of course, they have the one and only Yasmin Ahmad.

And despite all these marvelous credentials, the agency - at least the agency we all know as Leo Burnett - is dying a slow and painful death. In recent times, the agency has lost a host of their blue chip accounts and when Malaysia Airlines - which makes up 50%of the agency’s billings - announced recently that they are putting up the account for a three-agency pitch, this tantamount to Leo Burnett Advertising good as dead!

But half of the agency’s slow death can be attributed to its sister company, Arc Worldwide. Ever since the creation of this ‘Integrated Arm’, the bulk of the agency’s billings have been transferred to the new arm. I know it’s not much of a difference since it’s still within the group’s coffers and that Arc Worldwide is the new creative geniuses in the industry – making the country proud with their 3 gold in Cannes.


But the fact is, with all these successes, they’re killing Leo Burnett!

They’re killing the agency that has so much history; the one that made apples and black pencils a part of history; the one that gave the world global brands such as Marlboro, Kellogg’s, McDonald’s, just to name a few; the only agency I wanted to be part of…

I’m sure Uncle Leo is not happy with the current situation. He once said “If you don't get noticed, you don't have anything. You just have to be noticed, but the art is in getting noticed naturally, without screaming or without tricks.”

Maybe, the current leaders took his advice after all!

Maybe, when they created Arc Worldwide, they wanted to be noticed!

But maybe, they forget the part of about being “noticed naturally, without screaming or without tricks


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