June 13th, 2012
Leo Burnett's Farmhouse venture hopes to bring crop of new ideas to clients, maybe consumers
By Robert Channick
When Leo Burnett unleashed Tony the Tiger as the cartoon mascot for Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes in 1952, it helped convince generations of children that the sugar-coated breakfast cereal was “Gr-r-reat,” creating an enduring brand and a longtime client for the Chicago-based advertising agency.
These days, however, Burnett is looking to be more than just the frosting on someone else’s flakes. The agency has launched an innovation center aimed at bringing new products to market, both for clients and on its own, making advertising a lot more enterprising.
The new venture, dubbed Farmhouse, puts marketing acumen into the mix at the earliest stages of development. Working with existing clients, fostering startups and tapping its staff for product ideas, Burnett hopes to build a farm system to add the next Frosted Flakes, or perhaps Facebook, to its roster.