John Hegarty - Hegarty on Advertising (4 stars)

John Hegarty - Hegarty on Advertising

(Thames & Hudson)

As the man behind the iconic adverts for Levi 501s (Nick Kamen in his boxers), Audi (‘Vorsprung durch Technik’) and Barnardo’s (a baby jacking up on heroin), John Hegarty is better placed than most to discuss the perfect campaign. To the casual if culturally aware reader, the first half can be a chore to plough through, as he pitches at the creatives with strategic buzzwords and brand awareness. Happily, the wait is worth it as we sample the anecdotal meat behind the theoretical bones of the book’s subtitle (‘Turning Intelligence into Magic’).

There’s the tale of how one high street chain which refused to stock the 501s for £20 came crawling back as the jeans virtually flew out of their competitors’ doors. So successful was that campaign that Levi’s halted the ads as they couldn’t keep up with the instant demand. Beautifully designed and appealingly written, Hegarty insists early on that no one should ever read a book about advertising. Little wonder to learn that his favourite word is ‘irreverence’.


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