Cannes Lions produces yet another award, this time it’s a special St Mark’s Lion for BBH’s Sir John Hegarty

If you’re the biggest ad awards business on the planet it’s obviously in your interest to keep adding awards, one to increase revenue and, two, your profile.

And the Cannes Lions awards have been adding to the list with a vengeance this year, creating a ludicrous award for advertising holding company of the year, introducing an ad effectiveness award (we still await the criteria) and now awarding the estimable Sir John Hegarty of Bartle Bogle Hegarty with the Lion of St Mark in recognition of his contribution to creativity and being a good bloke.

Calling the award the Lion of St Mark after St Mark’s Square in Venice, where the first screen advertising awards were held in 1954, is a bit of a cheek in itself.

They’ve been in Cannes for the last thirty years thanks to the organisers. It would have been more appropriate to call the award the over-priced croissant.

None of these ingenious new awards are direct revenue earners (so far anyway although budding Lions of St Mark may be invited to enter next year, who knows?) but they’re all signs of Cannes’ relentless desire to take over even more of the awards world by dishing out yet more gongs in advance of the competition proper.

It’s no better than a trade show in Birmingham really.

Cannes Lions chairman, the indefatigable Terry Savage, says: “Sir John’s passionate commitment, brilliant creative mind and persistence in taking risks and pushing boundaries has revolutionised and changed the face of advertising.

“His iconic work is much admired around the world and has influenced and inspired thousands. It is with great honour that we will present Sir John with the first Lion of St Mark for his outstanding contribution to creativity in communications.”

Hegarty has accepted it, as I suppose he had to.

‘Bah Humbug’ springs to mind.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.