Ideas Matter More Than Ever for Magic Man Hegarty ; ON ADVERTISING AND MARKETING
Spanier, Gideon, The Evening Standard (London, England)
SIR John Hegarty, the creative force behind advertising agency Bartle Bogle Hegarty for almost 30 years, could be forgiven for wanting to look back on past glories.
He almost singlehandedly revived Levi's jeans in the Eighties with the TV campaign that featured Nick Kamen undressing in a launderette. His other highlights at BBH have included the "Vorsprung Durch Technik" series for Audi cars and the "Cream of Manchester" for Boddingtons beer. Before that, he was a founding member of Saatchi & Saatchi in 1970 and then spent a decade with another top agency, TBWA. But when we meet at BBH's Soho offices to discuss his new book -- Hegarty on Advertising, a mixture of manifesto and memoir -- he is fizzing with thoughts about the future.
As he says: "There's very little sentiment for yesterday."For Hegarty, ideas are everything. They are "the magic" that injects passion into communications and the reason he believes advertising has a rosy future -- because of, rather than despite, the huge changes wrought by the internet and globalisation.
"Those who say advertising is dead are wrong -- it is thriving in a thousand different forms," he says. "People have obsessed about technology rather than ideas but we're beginning to get over that. We've got to get back to worshipping at the altar of ideas."Hegarty's watchwords when it comes to successful advertising are "witty, intelligent, smart, truthful, inclusive". A client must remember that the world does not revolve around its brand. But it should also be proud of what it is, not disguise itself as something it's not.
So Levi's should celebrate being all-American, Audi should be unashamedly German and sober, and so on. "Advertising is a great window into a business," he argues. " Is it consistent? Is it confident? Does it communicate? If I were an analyst in the City, I would be asking companies, 'Why do you keep changing your advertising? Have you no certainty who you are?' Your advertising is your public face."Hegarty's favourite example is to contrast Nike and Reebok. Nike came up with a brilliant slogan, "Just Do It", in 1987 -- a call to action that was confident and has stayed consistent, even as the brand refreshed its campaigns. Meanwhile, Reebok changed its marketing slogan 14 times between 1987 and 2008.
The result was Nike's US market share grew to be twice the size of Reebok's.
BBH sees its role as finding that insight into the brand -- the intelligence -- and then turning it into magic.
Hegarty's book offers a fascinating insight into the creative process -- as well as some great anecdotes about working with Charles Saatchi ("had a PhD in media manipulation"), Tim Bell ("he could sell condoms to a cardinal"), and others.
"Magic is an elusive force," admits Hegarty. The creative team is "the soul of your agency" yet there are times when it struggles …
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Publication information: Article title: Ideas Matter More Than Ever for Magic Man Hegarty ; ON ADVERTISING AND MARKETING. Contributors: Spanier, Gideon - Author. Newspaper title: The Evening Standard (London, England). Publication date: June 6, 2011. Page number: 36. © Not available. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.
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