Attention all young creatives, not-so-young creatives, and creatives who are young at heart: Leo Burnett has recently published a new book titled HumanKind. Written by chief executive officer Tom Bernardin and global chief creative officer Mark Tutssel, this book is about people, purpose, and creating acts, not ads. HumanKind gives the reader an inside look into how their creative teams approach popular brands.
This book provides a model for how to engage with consumers—real, live people. “The work of an advertising agency is warmly and immediately human. It deals with needs, wants, dreams and hopes. It’s ‘product’ cannot be turned out on an assembly line,” writes Burnett. HumanKind demonstrates a way to approach ads that makes them about the people, not the product; that makes them about acts, not ads. In-depth looks at the ideas behind major global campaigns for companies like McDonald’s, Nike, Heineken, Canon, and World Wildlife Fund are included. These campaigns sparked changes in human behavior and active participation, from linking hundreds of photographers through a single snapshot to a worldwide effort to turn off electronics and lights to save energy. Each campaign reinforced the idea that that we are all connected.
One example of this philosophy featured in HumanKind is the Grigore Antipa Natural History Museum campaign in Bucharest. The museum wanted to announce their dinosaur exhibitions, which were the largest in the world. Simple paper and typography alone weren't special enough for this event, so Leo Burnett created an experience. The museum recruited local artists, city officials, and teachers to recreate prop T-Rex bones to scale, then buried the bones in local playgrounds. Kids in five different cities were invited to dig up the scattered bones and “donate" them back to the museum, eventually putting together an entire T-Rex skeleton. The link between experience, purpose, and emotion made this experience one that will last a lifetime for the children involved—not to mention the huge increase in visitors to the museum over the course of the campaign.
The underlying theme of HumanKind is that "creativity has the power to transform human behavior.” This book is about people engaging with a brand because it means something to them on a deeper level; it's about how brands can become more than products. To achieve this, advertisers should encourage connections that serve human needs. HumanKind brings together examples of how Leo Burnett has done just that.
For a video intro, go to http://humankind.leoburnett.com/ and find a little humankind in the industry.