Sir John Hegarty of BBH picks his Desert Island Ads

images-9Sir John Hegarty began his career as an art director at Benton & Bowles (he was later fired) and then moved to Cramer Saatchi and Saatchi & Saatchi before helping to launch TBWA in London. He founded Bartle Bogle Hegarty with John Bartle and Sir Nigel Bogle in 1982. His latest book is Hegarty On Advertising.

He is one of the most admired and awarded creatives in the world, a rare instance of someone in advertising (or indeed any industry) who makes even rivals feel good about what they do.



Heineken.  Water in Majorca.

500 years from now anthropologists will reference this piece of work to help understand the British in the latter half of the 20th century and their obsession with class – and know it has changed.

Levis.  Creek.

People constantly ask me which is my favourite Levis commercial.  A question I find quite difficult to answer.  But if pushed this gets to the top of my list.  There isn’t a piece of it that I would change.  It’s as close to perfection as one can get.

Union Carbide.  Chick.

This spot is two minutes long.  It’s rivetting, unforgettable and timeless.

Fiat.  Mirafiori.

I love this spot and its simple story.  Brilliantly cast, performed and directed.  I can watch it again and again and never tire of the joke.

Lego.  Kipper.

In 1983 this stop frame animation spot won every award possible.  It talks to both children and adults and is understood around the world.  Despite the quirky use of the  VO by a British comedian that most people had never heard of.

Parker Pen.  Finishing School.

This is one of the great CDP commercials.  Great writing, performing and directing.  It epitomised the concept of 60 second theatre as practised by Colletts.

VW.  Funeral.

Probably one of the greatest commercials ever written.  Imagine selling it to the client.  The star of the script is dead and you’re at his funeral.  Will that sell cars?  You bet it did.

Sony.  Lifetime.

What a great product demonstration.  Maybe Sony should take a look at this spot and see if they could get back some of their magic.

Carling.  Launderette.

Normally I don’t like advertising that spoofs other advertising.  It strikes me as people in agencies talking to other people in agencies.  Indulgent.  But this in my view was an exception to that rule.  The Launderette spot had become so famous that it was no longer just advertising.  So it could be spoofed.

Persil.  Out on the Street.

When was the last time you saw a great detergent ad?  This one’s almost 25 years old.  And you could run it today.  Why?  Because it touches on a fundamental truth.  One that never goes away.







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