Promoted
Thinkbox

3 great ads at 50: Sir John Hegarty on Volkswagen, Heineken and Marmite

Sir John Hegarty, founder and creative at BBH, tells us why ads should be memorable, motivating and truthful in a special 50th anniversary edition of "3 great ads I had nothing to do with".

Hegarty’s creative career started in 1965 where he worked as a junior art director at ad agency Benton and Bowles. He quickly moved  to Cramer Saatchi in 1967 (later to become Saatchi & Saatchi) before co-founding TBWA London, the first Campaign Agency of the Year in 1980.

In 1982, Hegarty set up Bartle Bogle Hegarty which soon became one of the most talked about agencies in the world, winning every Agency of the Year accolade and creative award possible, cementing its place at the forefront of the industry.

Hegarty created groundbreaking campaigns for major brands including Levi’s and Audi, bringing music to the centre of advertising with soundtracks from seven Levi’s ads making it to UK number one and  coining the long-running slogan "Vorsprung Durch Technik" for Audi.

Hegarty has won gold awards at Cannes and British Television Advertising Awards, and the D&AD President's Award for outstanding achievement. BBH is now a global company, owned by Publicis. Hegarty was knighted for his services to the advertising and creative industries in 2007 and  invited to be an Honorary Fellow of The Marketing Society for his contribution to outstanding communication campaigns. He was the first recipient of the inaugural Lion of St Mark’s Award at the Cannes International Advertising Festival.

In 2014, Hegarty helped set up the Garage Soho, an incubator for disruptive business ideas.

 Want to watch more great work? Head to the 3 great ads hub 

Hegarty's choices 

Volkswagen "Funeral"

This 1969 ad was part of DDB’s ‘Think small’ campaign for Volkswagen, portraying the VW Beetle as a frugal, sensible car. In the ad, a dead billionaire - remarkably - narrates his own funeral procession in which he bequeaths his fortune.

Though the image is grainy, the emotional connection between car and consumer is clear. This style, and the audacity of the creative idea, marked a turning point for DDB and kicked off an advertising revolution.

Art director Roy Grace, said he drew inspiration from seeing a lineup of cars. It was DDB that pioneered the concept of art directors and copywriters working together, which has been standard practice ever since.

Heineken "Water in Majorca"

Lowe Howard-Spink’s 1985 Heineken spot is a twist on the famous My Fair Lady scene in which Eliza Doolittle tries to enunciate "The rain in Spain stays mainly on the plain". But it’s only after cracking open a Heineken that Sylvestra Le Touzel (as Eliza) is able to say it in a Cockney accent to complete her riches-to-rags transformation: "Heineken refreshes the parts wot other beers cannot reach."

The ad originally intended to use the classic line from My Fair Lady but copyright vetoed this. LH-S co-founder Alfredo Marcantonio, known for changing the words and meaning in famous poems, came up with the similar alternative: "The water in Majorca don’t taste like what it oughta."

The ad was directed by Paul Weiland.It was ranked at number 9 in Campaign’s 2008 ‘Top 10 Funniest TV Ads of All Time’ and number 29 in Channel 4's ‘100 Greatest TV Ads’ in 2000.

Marmite "Results"

This 2017 ad created by Adam & Eve/DDB, is part of Unilever’s biggest Marmite campaign to date, ‘The Marmite Gene Project’ which aims to ‘prove’ that people's love or hate for the product is genetic.

Marmite commissioned a scientific study to test whether people are born with a predisposition to Marmite, to support the brand’s long-time "Love it or hate it" marketing slogan.

In fact, Marmite fans can eve order a personal DNA testing kit to their homes to find out whether they were born a lover or hater.

The ad, directed by James Rouse, with distinctive comedic touch, debuted during The  X Factor and shows various people discovering their test results.

More from the 3 Great Ads series

3 great ads at 50: Sir John Hegarty on Volkswagen, Heineken and Marmite

3 great ads at 50: Sir John Hegarty on Volkswagen, Heineken and Marmite

3 great ads I had nothing to do with #49 Nick Hulley and Nadja Lossgott

3 great ads I had nothing to do with #49 Nick Hulley and Nadja Lossgott

3 great ads I had nothing to do with #48: Shaun McIlrath on Lacoste, Southern Comfort and VB

3 great ads I had nothing to do with #48: Shaun McIlrath on Lacoste, Southern Comfort and VB

3 great ads I had nothing to do with #47 Caroline Pay on VW, Bodyform and Playstation

3 great ads I had nothing to do with #47 Caroline Pay on VW, Bodyform and Playstation

3 great ads I had nothing to do with #46: Caio Giannella and Diego de Oliveira on Folha de São Paulo, IKEA and Xbox

3 great ads I had nothing to do with #46: Caio Giannella and Diego de Oliveira on Folha de São Paulo, IKEA and Xbox

3 great ads I had nothing to do with #45: Micky Tudor on Miller, Stella Artois and The Independent

3 great ads I had nothing to do with #45: Micky Tudor on Miller, Stella Artois and The Independent

3 great ads I had nothing to do with #44: Ali Hanan on Dove, IKEA and Levi's

3 great ads I had nothing to do with #44: Ali Hanan on Dove, IKEA and Levi's

3 great ads I had nothing to do with #43: David Kolbusz on Skittles, Honda... and one that never aired

3 great ads I had nothing to do with #43: David Kolbusz on Skittles, Honda... and one that never aired

3 great ads I had nothing to do with #42: Becky McOwen-Banks on Maltesers, Boddingtons and Ministry of Sound

3 great ads I had nothing to do with #42: Becky McOwen-Banks on Maltesers, Boddingtons and Ministry of Sound

3 great ads I had nothing to do with #41: Ana and Hermeti Balarin on Sport England, Levi's and Boots

3 great ads I had nothing to do with #41: Ana and Hermeti Balarin on Sport England, Levi's and Boots

3 great ads I had nothing to do with #40: Anna Carpen on National Dairy Council, Levi's and H&M

3 great ads I had nothing to do with #40: Anna Carpen on National Dairy Council, Levi's and H&M

3 great ads I had nothing to do with #39: Mark Elwood on John Smith's, Skoda and Channel 4

3 great ads I had nothing to do with #39: Mark Elwood on John Smith's, Skoda and Channel 4

3 great ads I had nothing to do with #38: Adrian Rossi on Castlemaine XXXX, BT and Levi's

3 great ads I had nothing to do with #38: Adrian Rossi on Castlemaine XXXX, BT and Levi's

3 great ads I had nothing to do with #37: Al Young on Finish, Carlton Draught and IKEA

3 great ads I had nothing to do with #37: Al Young on Finish, Carlton Draught and IKEA

3 great ads I had nothing to do with #36: Peter Souter on Land Rover, The Guardian and Yellow Pages

3 great ads I had nothing to do with #36: Peter Souter on Land Rover, The Guardian and Yellow Pages

3 great ads I had nothing to do with #35: Remco Graham on British Heart Foundation, IKEA and Crest

3 great ads I had nothing to do with #35: Remco Graham on British Heart Foundation, IKEA and Crest

3 great ads I had nothing to do with #34: Alistair Macrow on PG Tips, Ronseal and John Lewis

3 great ads I had nothing to do with #34: Alistair Macrow on PG Tips, Ronseal and John Lewis

3 great ads I had nothing to do with #33: Chaka Sobhani on Levi's, Volkswagen and Three

3 great ads I had nothing to do with #33: Chaka Sobhani on Levi's, Volkswagen and Three

3 great ads I had nothing to do with: Nina Bibby on Evian, John Lewis and Guinness

3 great ads I had nothing to do with: Nina Bibby on Evian, John Lewis and Guinness

3 great ads I had nothing to do with #31: Ben Priest on Tango, Lynx and Levi's

3 great ads I had nothing to do with #31: Ben Priest on Tango, Lynx and Levi's

3 great ads I had nothing to do with #30: Dave Henderson on Heineken, Honda and The Sunday Times

3 great ads I had nothing to do with #30: Dave Henderson on Heineken, Honda and The Sunday Times

3 great ads I had nothing to do with #29: Debs Gerrard on John West, Skittles and Guinness

3 great ads I had nothing to do with #29: Debs Gerrard on John West, Skittles and Guinness

3 great ads I had nothing to do with #28: Rosie Arnold on Polaroid, Chipotle and Cadbury

3 great ads I had nothing to do with #28: Rosie Arnold on Polaroid, Chipotle and Cadbury

3 great ads I had nothing to do with #27: Trevor Robinson on Guinness, Maxell and Levi's

3 great ads I had nothing to do with #27: Trevor Robinson on Guinness, Maxell and Levi's

3 great ads I had nothing to do with #26: Paul Weiland on Marmite, Volkswagen and PlayStation

3 great ads I had nothing to do with #26: Paul Weiland on Marmite, Volkswagen and PlayStation

3 great ads I had nothing to do with #25: Matt Davis on Reebok, Heineken and Barnados

3 great ads I had nothing to do with #25: Matt Davis on Reebok, Heineken and Barnados

3 great ads I had nothing to do with #24: Elspeth Lynn on Sony Bravia, Sport England and The Independent

3 great ads I had nothing to do with #24: Elspeth Lynn on Sony Bravia, Sport England and The Independent

3 great ads I had nothing to do with #23: Stuart Outhwaite on Milk Marketing Board, John Smith's and McDonald's

3 great ads I had nothing to do with #23: Stuart Outhwaite on Milk Marketing Board, John Smith's and McDonald's

3 great ads I had nothing to do with #22: Robert Campbell on The BBC, Dunlop and Nike

3 great ads I had nothing to do with #22: Robert Campbell on The BBC, Dunlop and Nike

3 great ads I had nothing to do with #21: Brian Cooper on Apple, Levi's and Volkswagen

3 great ads I had nothing to do with #21: Brian Cooper on Apple, Levi's and Volkswagen

3 great ads I had nothing to do with #20: Catherine Kehoe on Virgin, Channel 4 and T-Mobile

3 great ads I had nothing to do with #20: Catherine Kehoe on Virgin, Channel 4 and T-Mobile

3 great ads I had nothing to do with #19: John Townshend on Honda, Levi's and Wall's

3 great ads I had nothing to do with #19: John Townshend on Honda, Levi's and Wall's

3 great ads I had nothing to do with #18: Kate Stanners on The Guardian, Guinness and Nike

3 great ads I had nothing to do with #18: Kate Stanners on The Guardian, Guinness and Nike

3 great ads I had nothing to do with #17: Russell Ramsey on Nike, Lurpak and Skoda

3 great ads I had nothing to do with #17: Russell Ramsey on Nike, Lurpak and Skoda

3 great ads I had nothing to do with #16: Abigail Comber on Lurpak, Maltesers and Sony Bravia

3 great ads I had nothing to do with #16: Abigail Comber on Lurpak, Maltesers and Sony Bravia

3 great ads I had nothing to do with #15: Darren Bailes on Kia-ora, Volvo and Levi's

3 great ads I had nothing to do with #15: Darren Bailes on Kia-ora, Volvo and Levi's

3 great ads I had nothing to do with #14: Ian Armstrong on John Lewis, Carling and Lurpak

3 great ads I had nothing to do with #14: Ian Armstrong on John Lewis, Carling and Lurpak

3 great ads I had nothing to do with #13: Billy Faithfull and Ross Neil on Nike, Supernoodles and The AA

3 great ads I had nothing to do with #13: Billy Faithfull and Ross Neil on Nike, Supernoodles and The AA

3 great ads I had nothing to do with #12: Danny Brooke-Taylor on Southern Comfort, Reebok and Dr Pepper

3 great ads I had nothing to do with #12: Danny Brooke-Taylor on Southern Comfort, Reebok and Dr Pepper

3 great ads I had nothing to do with #11: Gerry Human on Orange, Harvey Nichol's and John Smith's

3 great ads I had nothing to do with #11: Gerry Human on Orange, Harvey Nichol's and John Smith's

3 great ads I had nothing to do with #10: Sally Abbott on Specsavers, Robinsons and Heinz

3 great ads I had nothing to do with #10: Sally Abbott on Specsavers, Robinsons and Heinz

3 great ads I had nothing to do with #9: Caitlin Ryan on British Airways, Teacher Training Association and John Lewis

3 great ads I had nothing to do with #9: Caitlin Ryan on British Airways, Teacher Training Association and John Lewis

3 great ads I had nothing to do with #8: Elizabeth Fagan on Egg Marketing Board, Thinkbox and Carlsberg

3 great ads I had nothing to do with #8: Elizabeth Fagan on Egg Marketing Board, Thinkbox and Carlsberg

3 great ads I had nothing to do with #7: Jeremy Ellis on Hamlet, Budweiser and The British Heart Foundation

3 great ads I had nothing to do with #7: Jeremy Ellis on Hamlet, Budweiser and The British Heart Foundation

3 great ads I had nothing to do with #6: Ben Tollett & Emer Stamp on Tango, Lynx and the NSPCC

3 great ads I had nothing to do with #6: Ben Tollett & Emer Stamp on Tango, Lynx and the NSPCC

3 great ads I had nothing to do with #5: Vicki Maguire on Nike, The Guardian and Honda

3 great ads I had nothing to do with #5: Vicki Maguire on Nike, The Guardian and Honda

3 great ads I had nothing to do with #4: Leon Jaume on Carling, Ronseal and John Lewis

3 great ads I had nothing to do with #4: Leon Jaume on Carling, Ronseal and John Lewis

3 great ads I had nothing to do with #3: Justin Tindall on Stella Artois, Volkswagen and Match.com

3 great ads I had nothing to do with #3: Justin Tindall on Stella Artois, Volkswagen and Match.com

3 great ads I had nothing to do with #2: Craig Inglis on Robinsons, Volkswagen and Stella Artois

3 great ads I had nothing to do with #2: Craig Inglis on Robinsons, Volkswagen and Stella Artois

3 great ads I had nothing to do with #1: Nick Gill on Cresta, Levi's and Channel 4

3 great ads I had nothing to do with #1: Nick Gill on Cresta, Levi's and Channel 4