Leo Burnett’s $100k prize hits the sweet spot for start-ups

Advertising agency Leo Burnett has made a surprise switch from the top end of town by offering start-ups the chance to win up to $100,000 in strategic and creative advice – as well as the chance to appear on the side of a cider bottle.


The agency’s Australian operation has decided to launch the campaign – called ‘Help from Leo’ – to mirror the generosity of its eponymous founder.


In 1935, during the USA’s Great Depression, Leo Burnett started the agency and put a bowl of fresh apples on the front desk to welcome potential clients, a feature that has been replicated by the company’s offices across the world.


A new Australian business – with a registered ABN of two years or under – will be selected to benefit from a modern-day bout of generosity, with services worth up to $100,000 up for grabs.


Interestingly, the business name, phone number or website of the first 20 entrants to the competition will be printed on specially produced bottles of ‘Leo’s Cider’ which will be distributed to various restaurants and bars.


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Leo Burnett said that the competition will reward the “chutzpah of those who have braved all to start a business in tough economic times.”


To enter, budding entrepreneurs have to submit a pitch of up to 250 words describing their business vision. Videos of up to 90 seconds in length are also permitted.


Todd Sampson, CEO of Leo Burnett Australia, tells StartupSmart: “We wanted to do something that highlighted our entrepreneurial heritage and to give back to those willing to put themselves out there and have a go.”


“There are many challenges when you’re starting out – from a marketing perspective, with limited cash flow, it is often difficult to access the thinking of top advertising agencies. We can help with that.”


Asked if the competition signalled a greater focus on start-ups – who rarely engage the services of an ad agency – Sampson responds: “No, we are not specifically looking to focus on start-ups but for this idea we are. If we can help, even in a small way, someone realise their dream – well that’s a good thing to be a part of.”


Applications are open until May 3, 2013. For more information and to enter, click here.


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