John Hegarty of BBH likens ‘digital messiahs’ to the Taliban

John Hegarty, co-founder of Bartle Bogle Hegarty, has likened proponents of digital marketing to the Taliban and urged brands not to ignore traditional advertising mediums.

Speaking to the guardian at Cannes Lions Hegarty said of the Mediterranean jamboree: “It’s losing a little bit of focus, it now calls itself the festival of creativity, which is wonderful, but actually it’s creativity aligned with commerce. I think it’s being creative but the creativity, in my view, is aligned to helping brands grow and I’m not seeing that as much as I would like to.”

Hegarty believes that many brands are ‘deluding’ by creating content which they think people will want to watch, when in reality they’d rather sit back with Game of Thrones or Mad Men.

Hegarty continued: “If I got up five years ago and said TV has got a phenomenal future I’d have been laughed off stage because the new messiahs of digital had come along. They’re a bit like the Taliban, if you don’t believe what they believe, you’ll be taken out and shot but we’re now looking at a television golden age.

“Brands like John Lewis are having huge success with a very conventional piece of advertising, buying fantastic spots pre-Christmas and it creates wonderful content in those spots. That could have been done 30 years ago and it’s beating everybody else.

“What digital can deliver is phenomenal, don’t get me wrong, but at the heart of brands is a thing called story telling.”

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