CNBC Titans Leo Burnett

About the Show

Leo Burnett was advertising's original “Ad Man” and creator of Tony the Tiger, Toucan Sam, and the Pillsbury’s Poppin’ Fresh doughboy. Named by Time magazine as one of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century, Leo Burnett was a giant in the advertising world.

Defying all odds, Leo Burnett founded his company in 1935 during the Great Depression. He opened a small office on Chicago’s Michigan Avenue and started with three clients including the Minnesota Valley Canning Company. The owner signed with Burnett was because he liked his work ethic and “the little guy with the rumpled suit.” Burnett showed his appreciation by updating the company’s icon, creating the popular advertising symbol - the Jolly Green Giant.

By the late 1950s, Burnett emerged as a prime mover in advertising's creative revolution, which was now exploding thanks to the rise of television. Burnett was also home to ad man Draper Daniels, contributor to the classic Marlboro Man campaign. Daniels was reportedly the inspiration for Don Draper’s character in AMC’s hit show "Mad Men."

Web Extras

  • Top Ad Icons of the 20th Century

    See the top 10 ad icons of the 20th century as compiled by and recognizing "those images that have had the most powerful resonance in the marketplace."

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