Seven Decades of Disruption: Sir John Hegarty on Creativity & The Future of Advertising


Sir John Hegarty, Co-Founder of advertising agency, Bartle Bogle Hegarty (BBH) and a titan of the industry, delves into his extensive career that spans over seven decades and provides the inside track on one of the industry’s most famous deals between BBH and Publicis…

He opens up about the influences that shaped his career, from his art school education during the culturally transformative 1960s to his critical role in founding Saatchi and Saatchi and later BBH. He recounts pivotal moments, the emphasis on brand and creativity, the strategic partnership with Leo Burnett, and how they managed to preserve the agency’s autonomy when they were acquired by Publicis.

Joe explores Sir John’s recent focus on demystifying creativity for businesses and leaders in every sector and how it can be used for innovation and to create competitive advantage. He discusses his passionate belief in creativity's power to uplift society, and the advertising industry’s current challenges and calls for a return to focusing on the quality of work over profit.

In this episode, they also discuss:

- The strategic growth and ethical considerations that guided Hegarty’s agency decisions

- Cultural shifts and their influence on advertising practices

- Sir John’s opinion on white shoes

- Who invented the Curly Wurly and the impact of Elvis


07:34 Sir John’s inspiring 1960 visit to Charing Cross Road

11:25 “A typeface doesn't move people, an idea does”

19:47 Hegarty’s transition from junior art director to running a successful agency

26:40 BBH’s 49% deal with Leo Burnett

42:17 Complexity captivates and demands more from audiences

45:29 Advertising’s social responsibility

50:21 Why creativity is essential for businesses innovation

53:50 Grandfather's advice and fond memories from childhood

Podcast videos

Video 1: How BBH was different and why that helped the agency grow and succeed

Video 2: BBH’s 49% deal with Leo Burnett