One Of The Planet’s Top Ad Brains Tells You How ‘Out’ Creative Your Rivals

One Of The Planet’s Top Ad Brains Tells You How ‘Out’ Creative Your Rivals

Briton Sir John Hegarty is one of Adland’s sharptest minds. He’s the man the helped launch such iconic agencies as Saatchi & Saatchi, TBWA and Bartie Bogle Hegarty (BBH). He was that good the Queen knighted him in 2007.

B&T Magazine
Posted by B&T Magazine

Hegarty’s work has become household names – the Lynx Effect and Audi’s “Vorsprung durch technik” to name but two.

And now, Sir John has given his three top tips to being more creative to Lara O’Reilly, the media writer for UK’s Business Insider.

Also, be sure to check out B&T’s piece from last week which borrowed from the great work of legendary agency Wieden+Kennedy to get the old brain juices flowing.

Hegarty’s main point if you want to be seen to be different in the market you have to be different to your competitors.

Seek out different inspiration than your competition

Hegarty says many creatives seek out the same websites and industry news sites (that’s B&T) for their inspiration and to see what their competitors are up to.

But Hegarty reckons the business section of broadsheet newspapers can provide far more inspiration. “The reason I read those is I get amazing bits of information that other creative people aren’t getting,” Hegarty said. “I want to constantly see the world from a different perspective. That opens my eyes all the time.”

Take off the headphones

We have few rules in the B&T office but one is staff aren’t allowed to listen to stuff on their computer on their headphones. And Hegarty agrees. In fact, he said in the interview that he gets “pissed off” when creatives use tech to tune out.

He recalled a story from legendary British designer Paul Smith, himself a Sir.

Sir Paul was once stuck in an airport, waiting for a delayed flight. Rather than tune out with music or newspaper he decided on a stroll around the departure terminal.

On his walk, he happened upon a lucky charm that had fallen off a bracelet. The find was the inspiration for Smith to turn buttons on his shirts to lucky charms. The idea sold more than 20,000 units and became on of Smith’s signature staples.

Forget social media and have real conversations

Social media can be great for new ideas and checking the ‘mood’ of things but it doesn’t beat real human conversation, Hegarty said.

“The great thing is that your conversation is unique. It’s the only one of its exact kind happening in the world. If I’m on a Twitter feed, thousands of other people could be looking at the same conversation. Here [at BBH,] when you arrive in the morning, yes you switch on your computer, but what I really love you to do is switch on that person opposite you because you’ll suddenly find they say something and you’ll light up … we’re missing that.’”

He adds that too many creatives are dependent on technology to be creative.

“It’s just like the pencil: It’s an amazing thing, but it doesn’t have ideas. You have to pick it up, work it, practice with it. Then it’s a facilitator. And that’s what technology is.”