Creative: Fit To Be Ty

Reflecting on his new position as U.S. creative director of Bartle Bogle Hegarty, Ty Montague gets philosophical. “Life is what happens while you are making other plans,” he muses.
The 35-year-old copywriter–who has been freelancing for the last several years out of his Norwalk, Conn., consultancy Montague &–was in the middle of launching a new company called Eggtooth when he got a call from John Hegarty, BBH chairman and creative director. “I really wasn’t looking for a job, but when John Hegarty calls, you take the call,” he says.
After a few meetings with Hegarty, Montague was convinced it was the right time to reenter the agency business and close Montague &. “I found we had a great deal of commonality and opportunity here. I simply couldn’t pass it up,” he explains.
“As a creative person, I enjoy thinking more deeply about brands and strategy,” Montague says. “I had begun laying the foundation for creating a company that did more of that. After my conversations with John, it became clear that company already existed in BBH.”
Montague appreciates the importance BBH places on brand vision. “We share a lot of the same basic business values,” he says. “It’s common in business to gloss over the importance of strategy and get lost in execution.”
Hegarty, who met with nearly 20 candidates for the CD job, describes Ty as “highly creative and intelligent” and believes he embodies the right attitude. “He understands the broader aspects of getting a brand right and developing great advertising around that.”
Hegarty was most taken with Montague’s work on Black & Decker’s “Any Job. Anytime. Anywhere” campaign for Fallon McElligott Berlin and his Chiat/Day ads for MTV. His freelance credits also include work for Coca-Cola’s “For the Fans” Olympics campaign for Wieden & Kennedy. Most recently, Montague worked at Ammirati Puris Lintas in New York helping to develop Iridium’s global ad campaign.
“BBH is one of the best agencies in the world, if not the best agency in the world,” says Nick Cohen, executive creative director of Mad Dogs & Englishmen who worked with Montague at Ogilvy & Mather. “To be asked to lead the creative product as they come into America is an amazing opportunity. I think Ty will be wonderful.”
“He always looked for the opportunity to sell the good work and thought very hard about the strategy behind it,” adds Roger Bentley, executive vice president/ managing director, creative at Ammirati Puris Lintas.
Before starting Montague & in 1994, Montague was a creative director at Lowe & Partners/SMS working on Mercedes-Benz. He joined Lowe from Scali, McCabe, Sloves, where he was serving his second term. Montague began his career at Scali in 1986, working mainly on Volvo. He went on to creative positions at Chiat/Day, Ogilvy & Mather and Goldsmith/Jeffrey before returning to C/D, where he helped to create Reebok’s “Dan and Dave” Olympics campaign. From there, he returned to Scali as it was being merged with Lowe. He left a year later to freelance.
“Prior to ’91 or ’92, freelancers were frowned upon as a bunch of backwater has-beens. That began to change as talent made itself available to the highest bidder and best assignments,” says Montague, explaining why he left Lowe.
Though Montague enjoyed the freedoms of an independent contractor, he says he looks forward to helping BBH reach its goals in the U.S. “As a freelancer, you never wind up building anything bigger than yourself,” he notes.
Montague is confident that BBH’s creative culture will be able to cross international borders. “Although the agency’s roots are British, the values of the agency are truly international and universal, just like ideas. A great idea travels, and great values travel,” he says.
“The aspiration of this agency is to be one agency in three places. My job is to help them take their very strong culture and perhaps translate it to the local idiom here in America,” he adds. “But the fundamentals stay the same.” –Eleftheria Parpis