Kenny Lim
Feb 26, 2010

VIDEO: BBH's Sir John Hegarty on eradicating scam and maintaining the identity of Asian advertising

SINGAPORE - Sir John Hegarty, worldwide creative director for BBH, again touched on how scam in the Asian advertising industry has to be eradicated in a recent interview with Media.

VIDEO: BBH's Sir John Hegarty on eradicating scam and maintaining the identity of Asian advertising
“The whole scam issue is one that has agitated me for some years,” says Hegarty. “I think it’s a terrible indictment of our industry. I think it’s a terrible indictment of the region. Because you’re not solving real problems, you’re pretending to solve problems.”

Hegarty also likens scam work to taking drugs and warns that creatives become fixated with it rather than applying their energy to developing breakthrough work for clients.

He cites firms like famed UK shop, Collet Dickenson Pearce (CDP), which, in the past, pushed for outstanding creative work for big national brands that were showcased to the public. In this way, clients and consumers also took notice that great creative work is effective which in turn creates a bigger demand for it.

“In a way, (firms like CDP) enhanced the creative reputation of the UK. Not because we all rushed off and did scam ads on a little charity account or an account that didn’t exist and pretend that it ran and had no impact. It was done on big major accounts and that way we changed the perception of British advertising and the effectiveness of British advertising,” says Hegarty.

The creative chief also reiterated that Asian advertising has to retain its identity and not adapt too much from its Western counterparts – a theme he stressed upon while speaking at a Chinese advertising event last year.

He says: “I think the more advertising understands how to reflect a national point-of-view, but with a kind of global perception, the more interesting it becomes. British advertising emerged in the seventies because it learned from America, but it gave it a British accent that appealed to the British market. It spoke very much with a British point-of-view.”

“Now, Asia should be doing that. In this global world, I don’t want us to be losing our identities or to become these bland global citizens where you can just move one piece of work around and it’s all the same - where nobody’s any different except some people have fair hair, some people have dark hair or some people wear glasses and some people don’t – that to me is boring! What I’d love to see is a Chinese point-of-view but expressed in such a way that we can all understand. I really think that’s the future – for brands not to become bland.”

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