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The Lion of St Mark goes to Jacques Séguéla

France’s foremost advertising pioneer and former co-vice-chairman/chief creative officer at Havas will be honoured on the Cannes stage in June

Jacques Séguéla surrounded by his awards biting into a gold lion

THE CANNES Lions International Festival of Creativity has announced that it will honour advertising veteran Jacques Séguéla with its prestigious Lion of St Mark award. With a career spanning more than 60 years in the industry, Séguéla has produced consistently iconic work for brands like Air France, Apple, Carrefour, Citroën, Louis Vuitton and Microsoft, as well as highly successful political campaigns and authoring numerous best-selling books on advertising. At the age of 25, Séguéla started his career as a Doctor of Pharmacy – but then made a creer change, completing the first round-the-world trip in a French car and writing his first book The Earth in the Round, which sold 150,000 copies.

Later, after a brief career as a journalist, he joined forces with Bernard Roux and the agency Roux Séguéla was born. The agency's first piece of work saw French President Pompidou steering a Mercury engine in the bay of St Tropez, to the headline ‘Grab the Express and take off’. Soon, Alain Cayzac and then Jean-Michel Goudard joined the agency and RSCG was born, eventually becoming Euro RSCG. Séguéla has been the creative mind behind hundreds of successful campaigns. For Carrefour he produced the landmark work with ‘Produits Libres’, while for Citroën he sent a Citroën AX hurtling down the Great Wall of China and was the first advertiser to dare to name a Citroën after Picasso – to which it was said ‘the public will applaud, the art world will whistle’. He led the campaigns of former French President Francois Mitterrand, creating the famous 1981 slogan ‘Le Force Tranquille’. Seven years later he had another political hit with ‘Génération Mitterrand’. He is a passionate political communicator having led 15 other political campaigns, all victorious. 

Lions chairman, Philip Thomas, said: “Jacques Séguéla turned 90 years of age this year, and still comes into the office every single day to work on campaigns for his clients. The word is overused, but Jacques is an icon. He is bold, passionate and creative – and all with a tremendous sense of warmth and humour. He’s been to Cannes Lions more than 50 times, his first visit being to the Venice edition in 1975, where he was a member of the Jury and won his first Lion for Aéroports de Paris. His stories and experiences are captivating. As an industry we are delighted that he made the career change from pharmacy to advertising because we have all benefited from his creativity as a result. In the meantime, he is the most charming, delightful presence and we cannot wait to honour him on the Cannes Lions stage in June.” 

Séguéla said: “After 60 years of festivals, I have seen this industry evolve with every decade, but one thing has never changed: advertising is, has been, and always will be about having an idea. I have had the great honour of working my whole life not to sell products, but to make brands eternal and I love it. I am incredibly moved to be recognised with this iconic award and I share it with all my fellow creatives who stand behind their ideas, choose optimism and give brands the only thing that will keep them alive – a soul.”

Jacques Séguéla will be honoured with the Lion of St Mark at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity – where he will also speak on stage in the Lion of St Mark seminar, where he will recite tales and lessons learnt over his illustrious career, on Friday 21 June.  


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