The very pleasant Steve Peckham, who for the past several months has served as Leo Burnett/Chicago's interim public relations representative/consultant, is obviously striving for some clever headlines on his press releases, which have become more frequent in the past few days as some relatively positive news has actually begun to emanate from the beleaguered shop.
Most notably that news includes the selection of Susan Credle as Burnett's new chief creative officer. That announcement was trumpeted in a press release with the headline "Susan Credle Leaves Big Apple for Big Apple Agency" -- a reference to New York's nickname and also to Burnett's historical ties to apples. It's fine to demonstrate some cleverness when making such announcements, but let's not mistake that for the big idea creativity that will be needed to get Burnett's creative department back on track -- something we hope Credle will get to work on as soon as she lands in her new Burnett office.
There was yet another touch of, uh, cleverness in the announcement last Friday that Burnett has won an assignment to help AOL communicate its "reinvention" as it legally separates itself from Time Warner Inc. This time the headline read "Leo Burnett: You've Got AOL," which just served to remind some of us how far AOL -- with its iconic "you've got mail" welcome -- has fallen from an Internet leader to a has-been in the eyes of many who were there when services such as AOL were just beginning.
This of course, is just an assignment from AOL with marginal remuneration for Burnett. It's something the agency probably wouldn't have bothered with if business were better.
But times being what they are, Burnett is going to help AOL reinvent itself -- much as we hope Credle will be successful in helping her new agency home reinvent -- or rediscover -- what once made it one of America's legendary shops.