I had just gotten to Cannes for the ad festival and a friend and I were chatting as I was checking into the Carlton.
“Hegarty’s been bad mouthing your Nike stuff.”
“He says it’s derivative…been done before.”
I check in and then walk through the lobby to see what’s going on and the Carlton is where anything important will be going on. A friend of mine from Brazil calls out to me from the lobby bar and I go over and meet some other friends and I sit, and we start to chat. One of the great things about Cannes is seeing the different people that you’ve met through the years. Joao introduces me to John Hegarty, who has been sitting with them. He is a grim looking, gaunt faced man right out of Dickens. As we are introduced he doesn’t break a smile and I feel he resents shaking hands, but…
There are about six or seven of us and we start to share stories and laugh as friends do when they meet after a time apart. All except Hegarty, and I wonder why he is even there. He looks like he’s auditioning for a remake of GRUMPY OLD MEN, although he’s not that old.
Someone taps me on the shoulder.
“Joe? Sorry to bother you, Bob Haas, Levi’s.”
Bob Haas was the president of Levi’s and I wondered what he was doing in Cannes because clients rarely came to the creative event.
“I just wanted to thank you for the wonderful work you’ve done for us in the past and I’m looking forward to seeing what you and Mike have just finished. He tells me it’s going to be great.”
Bob walks away without saying anything to the others and Hegarty is seething. The ‘Mike’ Bob referred to was Mike Koelker. Mike eschewed these events. Hegarty asks…
“How many heads of corporations speak to you?”
There is a huge antagonism in his demeanor. He’s actually livid, but I take the bait.
“Roger Enrico, Pepsi, Jack Welch, GE, August Busch, …”
I don’t remember whether he walked away or quickly changed the subject, or someone in the group interrupted the moment. What Hegarty was upset about was that his agency had the Levi’s business in the UK and Haas didn’t even know him.
The work that Hegarty had criticized won a Gold Lion and the work that Haas referred to was named Campaign of the Year.
I would run into Hegarty from time to time and he would always have that sourpuss and a flaccid handshake.