With Nigel Bogel and John Bartle, Hegarty founded

With Nigel Bogel and John Bartle, Hegarty founded Bartle Bogle Hegarty in London in 1982 after leaving TBWA\London, where he had been since 1973. At BBH, he has created iconic ads for Levi’s, Johnnie Walker and Audi, among others. BBH, where the 61-year-old is chairman and worldwide cd, now has offices in New York, Singapore, Tokyo and São Paolo.

How did you get into advertising?

I got into it by a series of wonderful mistakes. I was at art school, and wanted to be a painter. But because a wonderful teacher said, “I think you’re better at having ideas,” I went to design school. At design school I had a wonderful teacher who showed me the early work of Doyle Dane Bernbach and said, “You should think about advertising.” I’d never thought about it before. So it was like having a light switched on in a darkened room. I suddenly saw where I was going to go. So, it was a wonderful series of accidents. And as somebody once said, life is a series of accidents culminating in a fatal one.

What was the most memorable moment in your career?

I actually have to say seeing the cut of Levi’s “Launderette.” I always walk in when I’m about to see a new cut with a degree of hesitation. And I’ll always remember, I walked in and the editor looked at me, and I always say, “How is it?” And you can tell from the editor’s face, and he looked at me and he just smiled and I thought, “Shit, it’s even better than I thought,” and he played it and I was just blown away. And I’ll always remember that moment.

What is your pet peeve when it comes to creating ads?

It would be wanting a client, when they see a great idea, to work out how to make it even better, rather than seeing the problems with it. Too many people in life seek out the problems.

Who do you think is the most interesting up-and- comer in the business?

I don’t have one person. I do admire what Rick Boyko is doing with the students at the VCU Adcenter. That excites me.

What’s one thing you would change about the business if you could?

I’d stop it being publicly quoted in terms of corporations being on the stock market, being on Wall Street. Because I don’t think publicly created companies are conducive to creativity.