The H of BBH – By @ggflrs

By Gémina Gil Flores

The H of BBH


We’re Monday morning, we’re in June and it’s raining – what a bad day you’d think.

Well, no! What a great day.

Why? Cause it started with a talk from Sir John Hegarty.

The H of BBH shared with us some wisdom on how to stay young in such a complex industry that is advertising. He mainly talked about creativity which is and should always be at the heart of our career, at the center of our ideas and thriving every decision we take.

Before sharing his definition of creativity, John reminds us that we should have our own locked in our head. According to him, creativity is the expression of yourself. That’s why great artists tend to say “that’s what I wanted to say” when they talk about their work. Creativity is what you’ve got inside, how you express your beliefs and point of views on the world. It’s how passionate you are.  

He then described two types of creativities; pure and applied.

Pure creativity being the one that come – almost – from nothing. It’s Leonardo Di Vinci painting Mona Lisa from his mind, or Matt Groening inventing the Simpsons. Then applied creativity is what come when the environment is created: copywriter writing scripts of the Simpsons for example. According to him, what makes great pure creativity is the idea. That’s why through his eyes Picasso was a great artist, cause he had ideas. He particularly like Guernica because it tells a story through ideas an vision, but wasn’t so touched by canvas by Mark Rothko for example. I don’t necessarily agree there — I do like Mark Rothko and think he had ideas as well. He’s telling stories in his own way and back in the context, what he does was new and disruptive. And I think that we should do that as well with our work. But, don’t take it personally John, I prefer Picasso as well.

John then affirmed that ideas can change the world, and said something that I thought was particularly interesting. “Ideas are dangerous”, and that’s why they are shut down in dictatorial models. If people can think, they can have an opinion, ideas and potentially go against the model.

At the question “what makes you liking an idea”, John would say the irreverence of it. Constantly questioning and challenging stuffs is the best way to come with interesting ideas. He then gave us few keys about how to have a long career in advertising. He said that storytelling is crucial to communicate, that we should never do again what worked yesterday; moving forward is really important. Learning from your mistakes yes, but not for too long: fuck it. Move on. Creating fame is important as well, because it develops the relationship with the audience and allows you to go deeper in the conversation. Oh, and, don’t wear earphones when you’re walking or on the tube. We should be sponged and always absorb everything around us. Why? Cause finding ideas is not an occupation. It’s a preoccupation. It’s something that will never leave us and should constantly be on. John talked as well about the importance of going and look at the best. If you look, read, listen shit, you’ll be producing shit. I don’t 100% agree on this point, cause part of our job is to soak up the culture and understand what’s going on, not just at the Tate but also in a Morley’s in South London. But again, I prefer the Tate to fried chicken so, no hassles John.

He finished his talk by saying that we should remain an optimist, and achieve simplicity. Simple ideas that go in depth and got a meaning. And always believe in what we do.

I found John talk and John himself so so interesting. I loved the fact that he brings a lot of references about art in what he said, making the talk rich and meaningful (also simply cause I love art). I’m glad cause learned a lot. And as he said, we should always learn from the best. Thanks John 🙂


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