Nigel Bogle writes to staffers to mark the 30th anniversary of BBH - a celebration of our industry

Screen shot 2012-03-30 at 1.16.21 PM.jpgYesterday BBH celebrated its 30th birthday and, to mark the moment, Nigel Bogle wrote to everyone who works there.

It's a personal perspective on the story of BBH but it might be something of value beyond their four walls. A celebration of - and provocation to - our industry, not just a great agency.



Bartle Bogle Hegarty said:

Look at that reel. Is there one Aussie agency, or for that matter, all of them combined that even comes close to this calibre of work?

Don't worry, it was a rhetorical question.

Creative excellence, dare one say artistry in commercial advertising builds brands, and as a consequence, sells products in the very long term.

ROI, cost benefit analysis, lowest common denominator approaches, they're the 'other guy', and this is what is happening in what was once a creative industry down under. Slow death by the accounting department, who are now masquerading as CDs, ECDs,

BBBH said:

The silent, fourth partner has broken his silence. (Bogel)

alan said:

Ahh, the good old days before everything had to have a social media element, a Facebook page, an app, an online presence etc, etc. and budgets were slashed.
Now someone tell me that the work wasn't 100 times better then?

Rule Brtiannia said:

We wouldn't have ten people in this country who could write the letter, let alone do the work. The Palace once had it, Clemenger Melbourne have just got it back and a few -very few- are striving get it. Happy birthday BBH, long may you prosper.

Art (in advertising) said:

Nigel Bogle is the antithesis of Martin Sorrell.

The later is all about merger and acquisition, the bottom line, below-the-line agency mentality that says plaster the client's name in every nook, cranny, and inch of digital space to overwhelm the consumer, and do it in the cheapest possible way to maximise the profits of the agencies and the holding group, often at the expense of any long term strategy for a brand to build it's reputation.

The former would rather promote the art of advertising that attempts to get inside the psyches, the souls of consumers, to speak to them as thinking beings with hopes and aspirations, to tweak their collective sense of humour and dignity, and to promote the brand first and the agency only as a consequence of good work.

One champions the money and the notion that any work will do, the accountant's strategy and the sad turn it's taken with the acquisition by WPP of the once great Y&R, Ogilvy, JWT,

The other is all about the work, understanding that the money will come as a result of the highest quality communication, without the loss of one's integrity, perhaps even one's soul in the process.

Of late, we've seen locally how the WPP strategy can begin to find its way insidiously into the body of BBH's holding group Publicis, with changes in direction at Saatchis, Burnetts and especially at Mojo, but hopefully what has been a group based upon creativity at large will recognise what made each of its agencies great and reverse course, before it's too late.

The battle of the Bogles versus the Sorrells of the world is the struggle of our times. The forces of light versus those of cynicism and darkness.

black sheep said:

I think much of what he writes can be applied to any agency. As he says, success is about confidence and believing in the work above all else. And yes, there will be times when the output isn't great (believe it or not, even BBH do their share of crap).
I think it's ridiculous to say that just because you work in Australia you can't create something of a BBH standard. Of course you can. Clems Melbourne, Leos, Saatchi Sydney among others have proved that. In fact, I'd go as far to say that Australian output in the last 5 years has been better than anything coming out of London. Even BBH were experiencing a lean time before that Guardian spot came along.
Rather than doing the typical Antipodean thing and being down on yourself and your industry, read Nigel's words and see how you can apply them to your own workplace. BBH isn't some magical place. It's just an agency. One that simply happens to believe in it's own abilities.

Convict scum said:

Why all this 'England's fucking great' shit?

Name ten beaches in England that are anywhere near as nice as Bondi?

And by the way, Bondi is our best beach. Don't look anywhere else. It's not worth it.

Lack of said beaches and an abundance of cash with a much larger population servicing all of Europe means the advertising should be a hell of a lot better in London. Luckily one agency is making that happen. Not too many other one's are tho.

Google 'definition of an english person' and see what comes up as second result, then blame Aussies for pointing it out to you.

Nelson said:

Bloody brilliant

Definition of an Englishman said:

Dear Convict,

You do seem to have rather missed the point, old boy.

Messers Bartle, Bogle and Hegarty are merely celebrating the triple decade of a culture of creativity, few on the planet could match - let alone aspire to.

And there's much we can all learn from their dogged pursuit of excellence, no doubt.

The quality of beaches on this quarry surrounded by coast you call a country, was never in question, you dolt.

But then, defining yourself based on the dune of sand you call home, says everything we need to know about your judgement of creativity, doesn't it?

Please feel free to look up my definition of your good self under 'pregnant trout'.


There's a good chap.

Herman the One Eyed German said:

@ Convict and Definition of an Englishman

You're both missing the point. It's not that BBH is English, or that there is no version of BBH in Australia, although there isn't.

It's that BBH, along with W&K in Portland and Amsterdam, or Mother, and precious few others are holding back the tide of accounting principles taking over the creative workplace.

The distraction of beautiful beaches is no excuse for bog standard work or for letting the bean counters run your lives, any more than living in Blighty and having to stay indoors is the inspiration and genesis for creativity.

Whether is comes from Oregon, or Holland, Buenos Aires, London, NYC, or Minneapolis, it's about the work, not the xenophobia, and definitely not about The Ashes.

Convict scum said:

Sincerely don't think I've missed the point, 'you call a country' etc.

Problem is, Aussies take your jobs over in England, and we end up with the rejects.

They keep telling us how much better England is than Australia.

We get the shits, tell them to fuck off, we've worked there, it's a shithole.

And the only place left where you can keep pummelling us with smug insults, is the blog. As the Scots say, 'get te fuck'.

Grateful said:

@ Convict Scum

With every inarticulate sentence, well some of them are sentences, you prove the point made by some many here about the dumbing down of creativity, and in your case general intelligence, that's continuing to take place in the Australian advertising industry.

Thank you for inarticulately making our point for us, you aptly named buffoon.

No one could have done it better with more tools.

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