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Legendary French maverick Jacques Séguéla is latest Cannes Lion of St Mark

Jacques Séguéla (below), one of the founders of Euro RSG (subsequently Havas Worldwide) is the latest Cannes Lion of St Mark, named after the festival’s Venice origins.

Séguéla, 90, began his working life as a pharmacist before joining advertising. He is also a best-selling author, coining the immortal phrase: “Don’t tell my mother I’m in advertising – she thinks I play piano in a brothel.”

He handled two successful French presidential campaigns for Francois Mitterrand, Le Force Tranquille in 1981 and Génération Mitterrand seven years later. Never one to duck a challenge he also contrived to propel a Citroen AX along the Great Wall of China.

Cannes Lions chairman Philip Thomas says: “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.”

Séguéla says: “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 recognized 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.”

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