Leo Burnett Wins the 4A’s TruthBrief Competition

A gallery exhibit in which ads are displayed as artwork stripped of brand logos has won the 4A’s TruthBrief Competition designed to improve advertising’s image and attract a new generation of talent into the advertising business. Publicis Groupe’s Leo Burnett developed the winning concept, which it called “Le Communique Art Show.”

While advertising agencies seek to attract top creative talent and new blood to the industry, the idea for the competition was borne out of findings in a March 2013 study on the image of advertising. The study, called “The Truth About Advertising,” revealed surprising findings in how advertising practitioners themselves viewed advertising as compared to consumers at large. Following the publication of the study, the 4A’s challenged the advertising agency industry it represents to come up with a big creative idea that promotes the advertising industry to a broader audience.

4A’s President-CEO Nancy Hill applauded Leo Burnett for its winning idea, saying, “It will get students as well as the public at large to see our industry through a very different lens.” She added, “And, it will make the industry feel proud of the work they do and the profession they have chosen.”

The study revealed that consumers have a more positive view of the advertising industry than practitioners of advertising have of it. It found that 69% of consumers think advertising can change the world for the better, yet 70% of the industry believes the best days of advertising are in the past. Another key finding of the study—which was produced by the 4A’s and IPG’s McCann Truth Central along with Momentum Worldwide— was that 79% of people who work in advertising believe the industry is better at burnishing client brands than that of its own industry.

Leo Burnett’s concept involves an art show at a gallery on a college campus in which all of the pieces being shown were advertisements stripped of their logos and content. Nuno Ferreira, SVP, Creative Director, who created the campaign idea along with Ryan Wolin, Associate Creative Director, said they wanted to dispel the misconceptions that advertising was not an art form. “In order to attract younger talent to this industry, we felt it was better to show them the real creativity in advertising rather than tell them,” he said. And, Wolin added, “This campaign shows the strength of creative ideas in a very personal way.” They both credited production partner Utopic for bringing the idea to life in their video.

The video presenting the idea shows how young people’s minds were changed when they saw advertising in a different light. It opens with various young people, the target of the campaign, saying that they would not consider advertising as a profession because they thought it did not better the world or could provide an outlet for their creativity. Video captured the students’ appreciation of the works on display and their awe and surprise when it was revealed that the pieces were part of ad campaigns.

The 4A’s will produce a toolkit that will be provided to its member agencies to implement the campaign at schools around the country.

The winning agency and entry were announced during the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity that ran June 16-21. The judging panel, chaired by Susan Credle, Leo Burnett and Chuck Porter, CP+B included Angel Anderson, CP+B; Lauren Connolly, BBDO; Christopher Cannon, BBDO; Liz Delp, Grey; Tor Myhren, Grey; Luna Hurtado, Leo Burnett and John Boiler, 72andsunny. All judges recused themselves from reviewing entries from their own agencies.