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Hegarty: Asia will never be a dominant force in advertising if it doesn’t cut out scam

“There have been no statements from agencies that they won’t do it.”

Advertising legend John Hegarty has hit out at the “endemic” level of scam advertising in Asia.

In an interview with Mumbrella at the Cannes Lions festival today, the Bartle Bogle Hegarty founder and creative chief said that there was no signs that scam – the practice of ad agencies creating work purely to win awards – was diminishing in the region.

“There have been no statements from agencies that they won’t do it,” he said.

Client are in on the act too, Hegarty said.

“They’re trying to beat each other in the rankings to take awards home. It’s a disgrace.”

“If you focus on scam – which a lot of agencies do in Asia – you’ll always lack proof that creative work actually works.”

“You can con yourself by calling it ‘proactive’ work. But that’s just another word for scam.”

“We’re proactive every day by trying to solve client’s problems, not pretending we can produce pretty ads that never run anywhere.”

“If Asia is to become dominant force in advertising, it must kick this habit,” said Hegarty.

Scam is not difficult to spot, he added.

“Just look out for the beautiful piece of art, with a tiny logo in the bottom corner.”

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