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Business Shapers: Sir John Hegarty

Posted on 20 October 2012

John started in advertising as a junior Art Director at Benton and Bowles, London in 1965. In 1967, he joined the Cramer Saatchi consultancy which became Saatchi & Saatchi in 1970, where he was a founding shareholder. In 1982, he started Bartle Bogle Hegarty which was soon to become one of the most talked about and awarded advertising agencies in the world.


Business Shapers: Sir John Hegarty

Sir John Hegarty

Creative Director & founder of BBH

Business Shapers from Mishcon de Reya

In association with Jazz FM’s Jazz Shapers

You know we are about the creative product, we are about creativity.  So creativity is fundamental to our future, it’s always at the heart of what we do, we are always restless, we always want to do better, but ultimately it’s putting creative people at the heart of the business and making sure their voice is heard. 

And I have realised what it is to be creative what you need. First of all you need taste, and you can’t teach that you’ve either got it or you haven’t, but the other thing you need is fearlessness because a creative person, a really really outstanding creative person is going to present and do something that nobody has seen before.  So for instance, when Picasso came along and suddenly changed the way portraits were painted when he did that portrait of Dora Maar and he put the eye up there and the nose over there and the, everybody I am sure looked at it at the time and went ‘you’re mad’ and he said ‘no, this is brilliant, it’s going to really make people look at pictures again’.  Fearlessness fundamentally important to being creative. 

I think you can create a culture that encourages people to be fearless. In other words, you know we are not worried if you make a mistake, fundamentally important.  Because if you castigate people for making mistakes, then they will stop making them and they will say things and they will become safer and safer and they will become more and more boring.

Cynicism is the death of creativity.  Fundamentally important that you keep people positive, you keep people engaged, if you do all those things I believe you know in a sense you often invent the future and that’s the brilliant thing to do is have stunning ideas that actually change the way people feel or think.  And my little dictum in life is do interesting things and interesting things will happen to you as long as you doing that doors will constantly open to you, if you don’t do that doors will remain closed. 

So, when you are setting up, when you are thinking about your product or whatever it is, would you buy it?  I think great business people love what they make and what they do and you can see it and they would buy it, they love it, fundamentally important.

Business Shapers from Mishcon de Reya

In association with Jazz FM’s Jazz Shapers

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