So Ben Kline departs Leo Burnett/Chicago. That should surprise no one who has followed the fortunes of Burnett and Kline for the past several years. Kline was, once upon a time, supposedly at Burnett to help drum up new business. When Kline pretty much failed as a rainmaker in that capacity, Burnett leader Rich Stoddart shuffled him off to do some other chores, and Kline pretty much dropped from site. That was a while ago. When we lunched with Kline, we found him to be a perfectly pleasant chap. Articulate. Rather charming.
But facades can be deceiving, especially in the slick business of advertising. And while we enjoyed our time with Kline, it became evident to us he wasn't getting the job done at Burnett. Given all the internal politics and other stuff that has for a long time made it difficult to get anything done in the Kremlin -- as Burnett has been dubbed by several former long-time employees -- perhaps we shouldn't hold it against Kline. But he probably should have had a better sense of what he was getting into before accepting a position at Burnett.
In any event, we're still waiting for that big new business win -- or creative breakthrough -- that would suggest Burnett is really starting a new and more promising chapter in its storied history. We continue to worry that it could be a long wait indeed.