What drives advertising mogul Sir John Hegarty? | What Drives You

What drives advertising mogul Sir John Hegarty? | What Drives You


So here we are. Welcome to What Drives You. Wow. This segment’s all about you. Obviously it’s a McLaren at the
moment, isn’t it? This is pretty good. And a CNBC anchor. And a CNBC anchor, Karen. I’m Karen Tso and this is
my new ride for the week. I’m taking it for a spin along the Croisette for the
Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, and bringing along some of the biggest names
in advertising, business and entertainment. As we ask… Today, I’m taking a trip down memory lane
with advertising mogul Sir John Hegarty. Hegarty has made a name for himself by helping found
three of the world’s most iconic advertising agencies, Saatchi & Saatchi, TBWA and
Bartle Bogle Hegarty or BBH. Well you know it’s interesting.
You know, people say to me, “Do you have a five year plan?” And
I say, “No, I have a five minute plan.” Whether it was a five year or five minute plan,
this journey takes us back more than 70 years. So let’s reverse to the very beginning. John Hegarty was born in London in 1944. His father was Irish, something he says made
him a bit of an outsider… and an observer. Those skills led him towards art, but it
was advertising that won him over. I wanted to be a painter so I went to art school. From art school, I went to design school and
whilst I was at design school, I discovered there was this wonderful thing called
advertising because I loved ideas. And I was shown the work of Doyle Dane Bernbach.
Back then they were doing great stuff. And it just completely turned me
on to the idea of advertising. It was the way Bernbach was using
ideas and how he was doing stuff that was intelligent, smart,
witty but yet also inclusive. So you were inspired by the creative side- I was inspired totally by it and
at that moment at design school I decided to create an advertising
portfolio and got a job in advertising. Was that hard in the day?
Were there jobs available? Well there was actually – I have to say, it
was a lot easier than it is now. Hegarty’s first job in advertising came from
Benton and Bowles, a big New York-based agency. But it wasn’t his only choice. I was offered two jobs and one of them was at
Y&R and the other was at Benton and Bowles and I said to a friend of mine:
“Which one should I take?” And I said: “You know, the Benton and Bowles
one is paying half what the Y&R job is.” The friend of mine said: “John, the thing
is that Benton and Bowles has this new brilliant New York art director coming over, that’s
going to be an opportunity, I’d go there.” So I went to Benton and Bowles. So the first lesson I learned was don’t
chase the money, chase the opportunity. Hegarty’s opportunity came in the form of
getting to work with a young Charles Saatchi. After several successful collaborations,
he eventually joined him as a founding shareholder
of Saatchi & Saatchi. The creative director walks into my office. Well, I didn’t have an office, I had a space. And said to me: “Now, I’ve found
a writer for you to work with.” And I said: “Oh, what’s his name?” And he said, “Charles Saatchi.” And I went, “Oh, brilliant.”. That’s a name everybody knows. That’s a name everybody knows. So Charlie and I started working
together. So that’s the point, my first big, in a way, break
was working with Charlie. We had a fantastic team together
and we did some great stuff. Was Charlie a creative
genius right back then? He was pretty damn good
actually, I have to say. I think we made a great team, obviously.
But we both learned off each other. I was an art director, he was a writer. So you worked closely together
from the very beginning? Yeah, and then when he went off
to set his own agency up in 1970, he asked me to go and join
him as a partner in that. After three years with Saatchi and Saatchi,
Hegarty co-founded advertising agency TBWA in London, where he
served as Creative Director. I loved working with Charlie, I thought he
was fantastic, but in the end, it was always going to be his gig and quite rightly,
he founded it, why shouldn’t it be? And so I thought I want to make my
own mark, I want to do things my way because I have a slightly
different point of view. What were the differences, do you think? Charlie would take any
opportunity, which is great. But, you know, sometimes he was taking
opportunities that were compromising creativity and I wasn’t happy with that but you know that was
his right, that was the business he wanted to run. After nearly a decade with TBWA,
Hegarty was ready for something new, founding ad agency Bartle Bogle Hegarty
with colleagues John Bartle and Nigel Bogle. We kind of felt we could do it
differently, we could do it better. There was an opportunity we thought
to create a really wonderful agency that was based on not just
creativity but brilliant strategy. So did you have an almost start-up mentality
when you began the business? Oh yeah, I was doing so many start-ups.
Working with Charlie was a start-up, working at TBWA was a start-up,
BBH was a start-up. So we had a lot of experience in how
you get an agency or business going. Hegarty decided to put all of that
start-up knowledge to good use by launching his own incubator,
The Garage Soho in 2014. I was beginning to sort of have to exit from
BBH and hand on to the next generation. I’m still part of them but you’re not
actively working on the business and I started with an old friend
of mine investing in companies and we suddenly thought: “Hey,
why don’t we do this for real?” We both have an opportunity to set up an
early stage investment company, let’s do it. So in 2014, we set up The Garage in Soho.The
Garage because that’s where good ideas start. Right. And we’ve now got something
like 28 companies going. The wonderful thing about advertising is,
this is what I always say to people, is that it’s a great industry for teaching you
how to do so many other things. So people haven’t had the experience I’ve had in
sitting in business meetings for 30, 40, 50 years listening to people talk about business
problems, what they will do to solve them and although I was the creative guy in the meeting,
I was hearing all of these conversations and so you’re picking up amazing tips, it’s like a sort of…
you’ve been to Harvard Business School times 20, and it was just brilliant, absolutely brilliant.

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