Hegarty began his career in London in 1965 with Benton and Bowles. He joined Cramer Saatchi consultancy in 1973 and was a founding shareholder when it became Saatchi & Saatchi. He later co-founded TBWA London as its creative director. In 1982 he formed Bartle Bogle Hegarty, which has remained at the forefront of the global industry for 29 years since. It was the Cannes first-ever Agency of the Year in both 1993 and 1994.
“Sir John’s passionate commitment, brilliant creative mind and persistence in taking risks and pushing boundaries has revolutionised and changed the face of advertising,” Terry Savage, Chairman of Cannes Lions, said. “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.”
The Lion of St Mark trophy is modelled on the lion statues of St Marks Square in Venice. This was the first host of the Lions festival in 1954, and alternating host city until 1984 when it found a permanent home in Cannes.