We at Cog love a D&AD lecture, if only because they to generate such strong conflicts of opinion amongst our team. Vince Frost, Experimental Jetset, Lance Wyman to name but a few – all have had us debating for days after the merits or otherwise of these ‘geniuses’ (or shysters, depending on your point of view).
John Hegarty, founding partner of advertising giant BBH, proved to be no different. An energetic speaker, be bounded around the stage, whisking us through more than 40 years of groundbreaking work, much of which brought sighs of recognition from the audience, most of whom were still only children when they originally aired. His work for Levis in particular sticks in the memory, not least because of the accompanying soundtracks. By some estimations the famous laundrette ad kick-started not only the market for stone-washed jeans, but also classic US soul music and boxer shorts.
Hegarty’s message for the evening was ‘never lose your enthusiasm’, and (to this reviewer at least) his energy was infectious.
Hegarty’s message for the evening was ‘never lose your enthusiasm’, and (to this reviewer at least) his energy was infectious. Sure, his anecdotes may be familiar, and not all of the work has stood the test of time, but for a man of such enormous standing within the industry he was refreshingly irreverent and informal. Not everybody appreciated the fact that his slideshow was clearly just a generic presentation, as opposed to being created especially for the evening, but under the circumstances this slightly disorganised approach only enhanced the impression of a man whose restlessly inventive mind is constantly looking forward as opposed to dwelling on the past.