Legendary agency creative and founder Mary Wells Lawrence has been named the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity’s’ 2020 winner of the Lion of St. Mark, making her the first female recipient of the honor.
The award honors advertising execs’ lifetime of stellar creative contributions in communications and was instituted by the festival in 2011. Wells Lawrence is preceded by BBH co-founder Sir John Hegarty, the inaugural honoree, followed by Dan Wieden, Lee Clow, Joe Pytka, Bob Greenberg, Marcello Serpa, David Droga, Piyush Pandey and Prasoon Pandey and Jeff Goodby and Rich Silverstein.
Wells Lawrence led a life of many “firsts” in the industry. She was the first woman to open, own and run a major ad agency—New York’s Wells, Rich, Greene in 1966; the first female CEO of a company traded on the Big Board of the New York Stock Exchange; and at age 40, the youngest person ever inducted into the Copywriters’ Hall of Fame.
Her resume ticks off some of advertising’s seminal campaigns, including Alka-Seltzer’s “Plop Plop Fizz Fizz," “I Can’t Believe I Ate the Whole Thing,” and “Try It, You'll Like It”; Ford Motor Co.’s “Quality Is Job 1,” New York City’s iconic tourism slogan, “I love New York”; and Braniff Airlines’ “The End of the Plain Plane," which injected lively, modern-day style into the category through everything from branding and design to flight attendants’ Pucci uniforms.