Linda Wolf, Leo Burnett Worldwide

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This is a partial transcript from Your World with Neil Cavuto, September 10, 2003, that was edited for clarity.

Watch Your World w/Cavuto weekdays at 4 p.m. and 1 a.m. ET.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: You know, there’s a theory that says, if you want to know how the economy’s going to be doing, take a look at what’s happening in advertising (search), and advertising has begun to percolate.

And no one knows the ad world better than my next guest. She runs one of the biggest ad companies around, and, if you think the economy isn’t turning around, she knows firsthand how to correct you. Linda Wolf is her name, and she is the maestro who runs Chicago advertising giant Leo Burnett Worldwide.

Linda, good to have you. Thank you very much for coming.

LINDA WOLF, LEO BURNETT WORLDWIDE: Oh, it’s nice to be here. Thanks.

CAVUTO: Let’s talk a little bit about this world now because there is a view with the bubbling we’ve seen in media stocks and certainly the attention now afforded to more advertising on the air and ads in newspapers, magazines that things are picking up. Are they?

WOLF: They are. Absolutely they are. In fact, spending in the first half of the year was up over 6 percent, which is wonderful, considering the trend in the past couple of years which has been down. So definitely...

CAVUTO: Is there a correlation between that and the economy later picking up? Which precedes?

WOLF: Well, actually, advertising tends to lag the economy picking up. Surprisingly, it tend to leads when it goes down. It tends to lag when it goes up, so...

CAVUTO: So what do you see happening now?

WOLF: I see that, in fact, advertising is picking up. We have a number of clients who’ve been with us a long time. They’re are all, in fact, putting new programs in place, seeing results from those programs. So it’s definitely picking up, yes.

CAVUTO: What is your biggest worry about the breakdown of the clients? I know you lost McDonald’s. Everyone made big deal about that, but...

WOLF: Actually, we still have a lot of McDonald’s.

CAVUTO: You still have a lot. They have the new campaign.

WOLF: Yes, yes.

CAVUTO: I’m sorry.

WOLF: Right.

CAVUTO: Do you think that the push now is for more of up-and-coming companies, or how would you describe it?

WOLF: No. Actually, you know what? The push is for companies that can deliver results, and it’s all about delivering results for your clients, and we are an agency that, in fact, does that day in day out.

And on McDonald’s with the new campaign -- we are doing a lot of the work within that new campaign. It was about the idea, but then it’s how do you execute that idea around the world, which is exactly what we are doing. So...

CAVUTO: But I wonder whether it hurts or helps when established companies that, let’s say, have lackluster sales -- McDonald’s was one of them -- that just say, oh, we’ve got to do something kooky and crazy.

WOLF: Well, I think, kooky, crazy is not the answer. The answer is making sure your product is delivering, the experience in the store is delivering, and then you have an idea that resonates with your consumers, and that’s the key, is understanding your consumer, talking to them in a relevant way, and really building a dialogue with them. And that’s exactly what McDonald’s is doing now with the target they’re going after and what they’re trying to do.

CAVUTO: Linda, we’ve been mentioning throughout the show this Usama bin Laden tape that’s released, and here we are on the second anniversary of the attacks. Do they stop buying, do they stop doing things when they’re real scared?

WOLF: What they do is they go to the brands that give them comfort, is what we really have found. I mean people, when they’re scared, they want to do the things that make them feel better and more secure, and one thing that’s interesting is brands actually do that because people have really strong relationships with brands that they know, and one thing...

CAVUTO: Who’s good at that?

WOLF: Well, we are for sure.


WOLF: And our clients are, too.

CAVUTO: But Hallmark or some of the ones we’re watching now, but the ones that are familiar names.

WOLF: Yes, Hallmark. McDonald’s is good at that. Procter & Gamble has a number of brands that make you feel that way, I mean when you think about just Tide or you think about Cheer and you think about...

CAVUTO: So the comfort names.

WOLF: Exactly, yes. I mean the interesting thing is I read an article in -- actually, I can’t remember what publication it was. And they were saying that, when those troops were in the field in Iraq, one thing that they made sure they put in the rations were brand names because it made the troops feel so at home and I think that’s really important.

CAVUTO: Linda Wolf, thank you very much. Good seeing you.

WOLF: You’re welcome. Nice to see you.

CAVUTO: Appreciate it.

WOLF: Thanks very much.

CAVUTO: Linda Wolf behind Leo Burnett Worldwide, the chairman and CEO, overall big cheese.

WOLF: Oh, yes.

CAVUTO: All right.

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