David Abbott was a writer's writer, says Sir John Hegarty

It's almost 50 years since Sir John Hegarty, founding partner of Bartle, Bogle and Hegarty (BBH) started his career in advertising. Sir John is now 69, a few years younger than David Abbott of Abbott Mead Vickers, the advertising genius who passed away a few days ago.

 David Abbott was a writers writer, says Sir John Hegarty

(courtesy: amvbbdo.com, copyright: Julian Hanford)

Hegarty obviously holds Abbott in high regard, saying that none of the current crop in advertising in the UK is a patch on Abbott. "I don't think anyone comes close. He was a one off, truly original," Sir John said to Firstbiz.

"David was a brilliant writer a gentleman and a man with a profound sense of integrity. He was a writer's writer. He created an agency that inspired creativity and huge loyalty," Hegarty added.

Asked about his pick of all the ads created by Abbott, Sir John says, "The Economist poster, 'I've never read the Economist (Management trainee, aged 42)." Hegarty describes the ad as "truly brilliant, a masterclass in creativity, irreverence and brevity."

What could today's advertising professionals - indeed the business itself - learn from David Abbott? Hegarty sums it up in 9 words: "Be true to yourself and stand by your principles."

"Choosing the precise word is important, but I don't use words to impress the audience by their strangeness or their intellectual quality. Good plain words usually work better," Abbott had once said in an interview with Adweek.

Hegarty does the same in describing Abbott, using good, plain words to paint a picture of an extraordinary advertising professional.

Updated Date: May 20, 2014 10:04:53 IST