Leo Burnett’s Mentor

Leo Burnett (age 26) and  Theodore F. MacManus (age 45)

Leo Burnett (age 26) and Theodore F. MacManus (age 45)

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a fan of Leo Burnett. And although I never met him, he’s been a mentor to me. I’m serious. (Read Leo Burnett, Star Reacher by Joan Kufrin and you’ll be inspired, too.)

Last week I bought a book written by the ad guy who turned Burnett on to advertising:

Theodore F. MacManus.

In 1915, Burnett quit his job as a columnist for the Peoria Journal and moved to Detroit to work in corporate communications at Cadillac.

That’s where he met the man who wrote the most popular car ad ever.

Their working relationship lasted about three years. But I suspect the mentor/mentee relationship continued a bit longer.

Because less than a decade before Burnett started his own agency (1935), MacManus wrote a book about the secret of creating effective advertising.

Burnett loved books. And while it’s true I don’t have proof he read The Sword-Arm of Business, I challenge anyone to prove he didn’t.

I just finished reading it. The lessons MacManus shares are timeless.

Which is precisely the reason why I’ve already incorporated some of that learning into our Agency’s capabilities deck.

FOOTNOTE: Some time ago, I gave a presentation to the Chicago Advertising Federation (in a Leo Burnett conference room) titled, “NEW IDEAS FROM DEAD AD GUYS.” (I’m looking at it now. Not bad if I do say so myself.) Perhaps I’ll update it and put it on SlideShare. It’ll be better than the original. B/C now I know what both of these legendary ad men knew about creating effective advertising.

About David Wojdyla

In 1999, he founded “&WOJDYLA,” the first ad agency to put clients first. Building on success, Mr. Wojdyla co-founded “(and)VERTISING INC®,” a seamless marketing agency with a knack for making complicated subjects simple.
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