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Bookclub: „Hegarty on Advertising” – John Hegarty

Hegarty on Advertising is a book you need to read if you fall into one of the following categories:

  • You work in an advertising agency
  • You are a client of an advertising agency
  • You are interested in the life and work of an advertising agency
  • You are interested in the biographies of creative professionals

Hegarty on Advertising is an ideal book that should be required reading for anyone working in the advertising industry. This book is a perfect blend of author John Hegarty’s biography and the lessons he imparts to his readers.

Hegarty uses his life experiences to demonstrate his lessons and views, making the agency he, John Bartle and Nigel Bogle founded in 1982 in London a logical extension of his thinking and experience.

In the book, Hegarty explains how the creative revolution spread from the US and ended in the UK, as well as how several large advertising agencies where he worked evolved. However, the value of this book is particularly in the author’s insights from his creative career as a businessman.

Hegarty on Advertising is a two-part book: it begins with a presentation of the author’s beliefs about advertising, branding, creativity and agency management, and the second part is autobiographical, highlighting key moments in his amazing career. In part one, Hegarty talks about how important irreverence is in advertising. If irreverence is combined with humour and possibility, it can become an extremely powerful persuasive tool in advertising.

In the second part of the book, the author’s personal history helps us get a clearer picture of how advertising culture has evolved on the UK stage over the decades.

One of the important lessons in this book is the shading. Hegarty suggests that you can’t create something great if at least a small part of you isn’t in that something, whether it’s your heart, soul or beliefs. In other words, if you don’t believe and find even a little bit of yourself in what you make, whether it’s a painting, a piece of writing, design or even an advertisement, you can’t have a good or even satisfying result, because that result is, in fact, your expression.

Another interesting idea Hegarty presents in this book is that criticizing a new agency for doing something different is crazy. What keeps the advertising industry, and marketing in general, going is constant evolution and innovation. So innovation is actually a challenge for new agencies, not something to be criticised.

What is also striking in this book is the idea that where one has one’s office actually reflects who that person is.

Finally, Hegarty says he considers the present the most exciting time in history to work in advertising, as there is now almost everything to facilitate the game. The more technology changes around us, the more we have to work to find ways to bring people together, and the way we succeed in bringing them together is with ideas that spark their imagination, as it has been, is and always will be.

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