John Hegarty started in advertising as a junior Art Director at Benton and Bowles, London in 1965. He almost finished in advertising 18 months later, when they fired him. He joined a small Soho agency, John Collings & Partners.
- 1967 joined the Cramer Saatchi consultancy which became Saatchi & Saatchi in 1970, where he was a founding shareholder. One year later he was appointed Deputy Creative Director.
- 1973 co-founded TBWA, London as Creative Director. The agency was the first to be voted Campaigns (the UKs leading advertising magazine), Agency of the Year in 1980.
- 1982 started Bartle Bogle Hegarty. Four years later, in 1986, BBH was voted Campaign magazine's Agency of the Year, and won the title again in 1993, 2003 and 2004. In addition, BBH became the Cannes Advertising Festivals very first Agency of the Year in 1993 by winning more awards than any other agency. It also won the title again in 1994. Most recently, BBH Worldwide was voted Campaign magazine’s first ever Network of the Year at the end of 2004. BBH was also Campaign’s Agency of the Year in 2003 and 2004.
- In the first two decades of BBH’s history, John was responsible for famous campaigns for Levi’s® such as the famous “Laundrette” commercial starring an unknown model called Nick Kamen. He introduced the phrase 'Vorsprung Durch Technik' for Audi which has become one of the UK’s most famous advertising slogans. He was the first to pick a young model/actor called Brad Pitt to star in a commercial and he also pioneered the importance of music for Levi’s®. The result being the soundtracks from seven Levi’s commercials getting to the UK number one spot.
- BBH has grown from its start in 1982, to being an agency in one location to “one agency in six places” with the opening of BBH Singapore in 1996, BBH New York 1998, BBH Tokyo in 1999, Sao Paulo in 2002 Shanghai this year (2006). Hegarty now oversees the Creative output of all BBH offices around the world. This unique global structure also contributed to the company winning the Queen’s Award for Export Achievement twice, in 1996 and 1997.