Sir John Hegarty, one of the most celebrated advertising giants in the world addressed a jam-packed auditorium at the Zuri White Sands. The BBH veteran in his own unique way got the crowd applauding as he exhibited several successful award winning campaigns. He also spoke about technology advancement of the last decade – a phenomenon that has changed advertising from primarily being traditional media led to more of an integrated model. Hergarty, however, felt that traditional media was still very powerful and that technology would only help create the right impact.
He referred to the early nineties period when the US saw the sudden rise of the online business, followed by an unprecedented collapse. “Things have quite changed after that. We’ve come a long way, and technology has kind of proved to be a storm that’s hit the communication industry, and the way that’s happened is phenomenal. If the past decade was about technology and innovation, the next 10 years in that sense will be more profound – we will see greater use of technology that will aid creativity.”
Casting his mind back to the early nineties, when the technology had revolution started, he noted that people talked about new things and everything that was old, was seen as wrong thing to do. “That’s a danger,” he said, referring to that thought process, and added, “Earlier, the brands were always looking to move up – exclusivity was very much the pattern of the business. However, now the business has become more risky, we see more ups and downs; the challenge lies in responding well to different situations.”
On the impact of social media with the consumer becoming more powerful than he was before, Hegarty pointed out, “Consumer was always in control. The buying decisions were always their prerogative since they have the money. What the consumers can now do is they can switch you off.”
Hegarty moved on to explaining the power of fame in advertising. “Fame is fundamentally important. At BBH, we look at Fame and Persuasion as important elements in the process of brand building. Fame protects margins, allows premium pricing and relieves competitive pressures. Without Fame, you can’t really build a brand.” Further elaborating on what made brands famous, he said that leadership, innovation and heritage were factors that led to fame.
He stressed that one should not confuse Promotion with Persuasion. “Your function is not just to promote, but it’s also persuading,” he stressed.
A million dollar question that he raised was one that was pertinent in this competitive era – Do you as a brand want to be a leader or a follower? He noted that a lot of brands were actually followers right from the beginning. “To achieve leadership, it requires an altogether approach and value system,” he said.
Hegarty showcased award winning works on brands such as X-Box, Barclays, Johnnie Walker, and Yeo Valley, to name a few. He demonstrated how traditional media, combined with social media, could bring about a revolution for the brand.