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Leo Burnett Company, Limited
175 Bloor Street East, North Tower
Toronto, Ontario M4W 3R9
+416 925 5997

Margaret Arnold

SVP, Director, Human Resources

EVP David Kennedy


Lisa Morch

VP, Director of Knowledge Mgmt

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Leo Q+A: Dan Gilroy

In this edition of Leo Q+A, we had the pleasure of chatting with Dan Gilroy, account supervisor from across the pond at Leo Burnett London, now settling into his new life in Chicago. Read on to learn about this Brit's take on American business lingo and his insights into the world of advertising.

Note: No eagles were harmed in the making of this Q+A.

Name: Dan Gilroy

Country of Origin: England

Current Office: Chicago

Title: Account Supervisor

Describe your role in one word: Multifunctional.

If you weren’t in advertising, what would you be doing? I would have liked to have been an architect – such a fascinating combination of art and science. Failing that, I probably would have aspired to be a wildlife photographer. I had so many hopes and dreams…

What’s on your to-do list this year? To go all ‘Brit abroad’ and visit every state in the USA. Three down so far.

What's the first thing you do in the morning when you arrive? Contemplate taking the stairs to the 18th floor, then thinking ‘naaah’…

Where do you do your best thinking? Where (and when) I least expect it.

Do you have a personal motto? Not so much a motto, more of a favourite quote: “Without change, there would be no butterflies.”

What creative talent would you most like to have? Being able to moonwalk. No better way to enter/leave a meeting.

If you could be a character in any commercial, who would it be? The guy strolling down the beach in that Southern Comfort ad from a while back. He just don’t give a daaaaamn.

What’s your greatest advertising-related fear? Being found out.

What’s your current state of mind about the advertising industry? There’s life in the old girl yet.

What living creative person do you most admire? Ricky Gervais. I’m a big fan of the UK version of The Office, plus his Instagram is hilarious.

How would you like to end your career? With a smile on my face.

What do you consider your greatest creative achievement? I always have time for creative ideas that actually make people’s lives better. During my time in the London office I worked with the team to deliver the ‘Plan Talks’ for global children’s charity Plan. It was a campaign that not only helped the charity, but also the causes it worked toward. I hope to be part of more things like this in the future.

What’s your idea of advertising misery? Overcomplicated ideas. Keep It Simple Stupid.

What’s your idea of perfect advertising happiness? Delivering a campaign that makes people who don’t work in advertising say ‘Oh wow, you guys did that?’

What advertising lingo do you most overuse? I’m currently learning American ad man lingo. I could rattle off some of the great new phrases I’ve learned, but instead I want to mention something I’ve found quite curious. I’ve discovered a number of my newfound co-workers have this relentless need to abbreviate as many words as they can when speaking, or worse, talk in acronyms. It’s somewhat ironic that it actually results in me taking twice as long to understand what it is they’re going on about. I’ll get there though…FTW!

What’s your biggest advertising-related regret? Je ne regrette rien.

What trait do you value most of co-workers? Believing that old maxim ‘none of us is as good as all of us’.

What do you think most people misunderstand about the business? That we’re drunk all the time. It’s more like most of the time, thank you very much.

If you could change one thing about advertising, what would it be? Not to test ads before they go into production. They rarely stand a chance.

What’s the quality you most like in a creative director? A hatred of direct eye contact – always a good sign.

What’s the quality you most like in an account executive? Asking questions incessantly.

And, finally, what’s your favorite ad/campaign ever? The beautiful Sony ‘Balls’ Ad. I think it’s absolutely timeless, and in my opinion, Sony hasn’t topped it since it launched nearly 10 years ago.