Le Drugstore, Paris re-design by Tom Dixon

Le Drugstore, Paris re-design by Tom Dixon

The French call the Champs-Elysées “ la plus belle avenue du monde ” ( the most beautiful Avenue in the world )

Built in 1958 by Marcel Bleustein-Blanchet ( founder of the world-renowned advertising agency Publicis Group ), Publicis Drugstore which overlooks the Arc de Triomphe, was designed to bring American consumer convenience and bar culture to the Parisian public.

The sprawling Drugstore Publicis sits at the Place de l’Étoile end of the Champs Elysées drew inspiration from New York venues frequented ny Marcel, as a young Madison Avenue advertising executive.

Restaurant, shop, 600 seat cinema and bar, it was Paris’ first all-hours venue.

le drugstore ( bottom right) on the champs elysees

The newly renovated restaurant and bar Le Drugstore – is located on the ground floor of the iconic shopping and entertainment complex at 133 Avenue des Champs-Élysées.

With uninterrupted views of the Arc de Triomphe, Le Drugstore on the Champs-Elysées is a year-round outdoor terrace sit at the heart of this luxury convenience store

The Publicis Drugstore is a 180-person operation that hums from 8 a.m. to 2 a.m. 365 days a year.

Housed just below its global headquarters, where agencies such as Marcel and Publicis Conseil also live, the store contributes enough revenue to help offset the building’s rent on the pricey Champs-Élysées in the shadow of the Arc de Triomphe.

The mastermind behind the Drugstore was Marcel Bleustein-Blanchet, who in 1926, at the age of just 20, started Publicis Groupe .

Inspired by the corner convenience stores prevalent in the U.S., he brought the idea back to France in the 1950s. Some ridiculed him, convinced that such an undertaking would be nothing more than an eyesore along the ritzy avenue.

But this is no 7-Eleven, and today it is difficult to argue with the venture’s success.

For all his success in advertising, Marcel Bleustein-Blanchet made his most visible contribution to French culture in 1958 when he transformed the ground floor of his headquarters into Le Drugstore, a 24-hour emporium complete with a movie theater, gift shop, soda fountain and even a pharmacy.

The business was such a success, drawing hordes of shoppers during the day and a chic late-night clientele, that he later opened several others in Paris.

Staking a fresh claim to be the most beautiful restaurant on that famous street is Le Brasserie at Le Drugstore, reopened in mid 2017 following a striking makeover by Tom Dixon.

The Publicis Drugstore was destroyed by fire in 1972 and rebuilt in 2004, and Tom Dixon says he saw it as his mission to “unite the past and the future with universal, timeless fittings”.

Renamed from the ‘Brasserie at Publicis Drugstore’; a renowned Parisian hot spot for more than 60 years, the new restaurant is located on the ground floor of the Publicis shopping complex.

maurice levy ceo publicis, eric frechon chef and tom dixon’s photo on the chair he designed for le drugstore, on the construction site of the new drugstore


It is spread over two levels, with a see-through glass exterior designed by Michele Saee ( Louvre Pyramid ) with curved and diagonal lines.

The Brasserie at le Drugstore is located in the ground floor of a shopping and entertainment complex, the venue is also home to an open kitchen and patisserie, an outdoor terrace and a conservatory.

This makeover is not the Drugstore’s first but it is truer to the building’s original spirit than Michele Saee’s bold but frigid Gehry-esque intervention of 2004.

The mythical bar of the le Drugstore was reborn ( after five months of work ) under the leadership of two great names: the three starred chef Éric Frechon and the English designer Tom Dixon

Tom Dixon’s graceful re-interpretation reveals the more interesting aspects of architect Pierre Dufau’s original design, together with Tom’s use of rich, tactile materials and clever juxtaposition of glossy wood and marble with soft leather, velvet and brushed brass lends the restaurant its Don Draper appeal.

Served alongside Dixon’s interiors will be the new all-day menu by triple-Michelin-starred Eric Fréchon, executive chef at Epicure at Le Bristol Paris, whose portfolio includes Céleste at The Lanesborough, London.

Tom worked at the Céleste kitchen before beginning work on Le Drugstore, so as to better understand Fréchon’s eclectic culinary ethic and get an insight into the history of Le Drugstore, which introduced the 24/7 lifestyle to postwar Paris.

The menu is the work of Eric Frechon, the triple-starred chef of Épicure at Le Bristol and offers everything from finger-foods to main meals, with counter service at the bar and the open kitchen for those requiring entertainment.

Eric’s mission was to keep a few dishes-totems of the historic address while proposing an innovative concept of restoration, compatible with the spirit of the place.

Chef Eric Frechon has preserved the DNA of the historic address (burgers, beef, Caesar salad, ice cream) by enriching it with new proposals around the vintage and the cooked, as well as signature dishes (poultry, fish, pasta, prawns …).

A friendly, uncomplicated place, where we serve continuously from 8 am to 2 am.

A place to become the new rendezvous of the Parisians.

I remember dining here at midnight with other chefs after service years ago, when the restaurant was like a hotel without rooms. We used to eat caviar burgers – so now I’m going to make my 2017 version.”……………..Eric Fréchon

Fréchon’s updated offering will focus on what he calls “fat and thin” cuisine.

There will be plenty of healthy salads, fresh fruit and vegetable juices, but also some rib-sticking dishes, because not everyone is watching their weight, Ça c’est Paris! ” …….. Eric Fréchon

Following a complete strip out, Tom Dixon and the DRS team simplified the 350 sqm restaurant and enhanced the interior architecture to highlight a broad palette of extraordinary finishes and honest materials designed to last and improve with age

The design, the organization of the space, the geometry, the light, the open kitchen on the restaurant: like the pastry shop where you would be left open for hours, it is all these ruptures that make this new restaurant an innovative place.

The timber walls and unique marble bars are complimented by deep tones of oxblood upholstery and brass fixtures that combine to make a contemporary nod to the glamour and sophistication of the 1960’s world of advertising.

The 350m2 interior is warmly lit with the main feature being an illuminated coffered ceiling featuring Tom Dixon’s copper Melt Surface light which launched at Milan’s Salone del Mobile in April 2017.

The lounge is inspired by the gentleman’s study and offers a more intimate and relaxed dining experience.

This space is wrapped with a bespoke brass and reeded glass bookcase, providing privacy and a subtle partition between the retail and dining spaces.

The lounge features a collection of the new Tom Dixon Micro Wingback chairs, upholstered in a charcoal grey and deep yellow wool

An exclusive range of seating has been designed especially for Le Drugstore comprising of dining and low and high bar stools.

Fabricated in steel and upholstered for maximum comfort in leather and fabric, the range is inspired by a 1950’s collection created for Publicis Drugstore by Mathieu Matégot, the celebrated Mid-Century French decorator.

Tones of natural green, the texture of rattan and the warmth of brass bring a sense of calm, tactile comfort and understated glamour to the bustling atmosphere of the 8th Arrondissement in uncompromising style.

This simple but Luxe palette is sympathetically translated in the glass conservatory and seasonal terrace.

Both spaces embrace the flood of natural light acting as refreshing daytime alternative to the sultry evening mood of the brasserie’s interior.

For this legendary restaurant, what interested me was to slow people down, to put them at ease. I also wanted to bring together a team around a project where everything would be orchestrated in a synchronized fashion, from 8 a.m. to 2 a.m. I used the tradition of classical brasserie décor and took it elsewhere, far from convention.

My first memory is the big letters in stainless steel logo, very 1970s. It was the great design era in France. The decor, the materials were deluxe, but the prices were desalted. It was a place that breathed youth, freeing itself from conventions. My desire was to re-infuse him with that sly, cheeky spirit, so tempting today, to sail between nostalgia and new life” …… Tom Dixon

The unique Parisian identity of Publicis Drugstore has always inspired me. I remember having been brought there, late at night, aspirin. I remember the Publicis’ logo representing a lion in stainless steel. It relates to a certain image of France. Modern, looking to the future.” …… Tom Dixon

There are Parisian codes I adore: the service at the counter, the banquettes … It was absolutely necessary to keep all that.

While restoring their letters of nobility to materials and comfort, echoing the glam masculine aesthetics of the 1960s.

What really changed is the kitchen. It was closed. But today, this is where it happens, everyone wants to see the ballet of men in cap.

In addition, Eric Frechon is a renowned leader, it deserved to devote half of the space to him. He is the hero of the play.

Wood, brass, velvet, leather, black marble Saint Laurent for the bar, celadon and burgundy for the tables, deep sofas, armchairs wraps flannel, mustard and lie- In the blink of an eye to “Mad Men“” …….. Tom Dixon



Designer Tom Dixon (right) worked at London’s Céleste restaurant to gain insight into the culinary ethic of chef Eric Fréchon (left)




Featured Tom Dixon Products

Micro Wingback Chair


Melt Surface Light Gold


Stone Pendant Light


Scoop Chair Low Back


Slant side chair





Le Drug store, Paris – Key Dates

1926:  Creation of the Publicis agency by Marcel Bleustein-Blanchet at 133, avenue des Champs-Élysées, 75008 Paris.

1958:  Opening of the Drugstore Publicis, which adjoins the agency. “The idea of ​​the drugstore was part of the treasure trove of new concepts that I had brought back from my last trip to the United States. It brings the Parisians a whole range of new services: from the press to the pharmacy open day and night, from the restaurant to the bookstore, from delicatessen to discs. It is the meeting place of Parisians of every age and condition, “declared his founder.

1965:    Inauguration of the drugstore Publicis Saint-Germain-des-Prés.

1971:    A third drugstore called Matignon opens at the roundabout of the Champs-Élysées.

1974:   Second life for the drugstore of the Champs-Élysées, totally destroyed by a fire that ravaged the building.

New start with a new façade and a new decor.

2004:  Renovation of the building by the American-Iranian architect Michele Saee.

The Publicis drugstore becomes Publicisdrugstore.

2010:  Opening of the Atelier Étoile by Joël Robuchon at the Publicisdrugstore.

2017:  Opening of the new restaurant Le Drugstore in May , 2017.


Marcel Bleustein-Blanchet (21 August 1906 – 11 April 1996) was a French advertising magnate best known as the founder of Publicis Groupe.

The history of advertising in France is unusual. Newspapers were slow to make space for publicity.

It was widely held that advertising meant corruption (and so it did when Marcel Proust had to pay both journalist and newspaper in order to get a favourable review).

But, just as the French overcame their reluctance to have anything to do with the banks or with the stock exchange, so advertising and publicity have become a vital part of national activities.

Were proof needed one has only to look at the eulogies delivered for Marcel Bleustein-Blanchet, on his death at the age of 89.

One left-wing journal hailed him on its front page as the Pope of Publicity, “le Pape de la Pub”.

Mr. Bleustein-Blanchet also invented radio advertising in France, helped create the first French opinion polls, introduced Édith Piaf to the French public, and fought with the Free French forces during World War II.

The story of this exceptional man demonstrates how he set the ground rules not only for Publicis but also for the world of advertising and modern day communications.

An ability to convince, together with a supreme self- confidence, explains his success.

In 2008, Marcel Bleustein Blanchet received posthumous recognition from his global peers.

He was the first non-American to enter the “American Advertising Federation Hall of Fame,” which recognizes the outstanding achievements of leaders in Advertising.

A creative genius and visionary, Marcel Bleustein, was a true pioneer and innovator.

Thanks to him, the world was introduced to many firsts: shock slogans, the use of radio and TV to advertise, sponsorships, studies, multimedia approaches, rules and regulations, marketing techniques… things that are as valid today as they were then.

Even in our digital era they stand strong.

Only the vocabulary has changed.

Never has the word “founder” been so apt and rich in meaning.

Mr. Bleustein-Blanchet, who became a leading philanthropist with lavish support for the arts and cultural causes, was also highly active in Jewish affairs and an outspoken supporter of Israel.

He is survived by his wife, Sophie; and two daughters, Elisabeth Badinter and Michele Bleustein-Blanchet, and several grandchildren.



Publicis Groupe





Marcel Bleustein-Blanchet

1906, Marcel Bleustein was born on the 21st Aug, 1906 – a Leo by birth and by nature ( and Publicis logo ! )

The youngest of nine children of a Jewish-Russian emigre, he was the son of Abraham Bleustein, a furniture salesman

Not particularly studious, with average results, Bleustein knew how to “read, write and count.” ( they forgot to add Also to speak ! )

His favorite past time was running around the streets of Montmartre – “the streets” as he called them, “of common sense.” – dreaming of a better life on the Champs-Elysees.

It was an excellent apprenticeship, one that set him in good stead for the future, and made him a connoisseur of the common man.

At the age of 12, Marcel Bleustein-Blanchet dropped out of school and two years later went to work at Leviten’s – a relative’s furniture store.

But Bleustein-Blanchet, was ever the restless action man, possessed of boundless self-confidence.

Convinced that merchants could use — and would pay for — professional help in designing newspaper and other advertisements, at 18 he scraped up enough money to pay for a scouting trip to the United States.

Although he arrived speaking no English, he absorbed so much of the new American advertising technique that when he returned to France the next year, he promptly opened what is regarded as the first French advertising agency.

Operating out of two rented rooms and wearing a black jacket, striped pants and a bowler to make himself appear older than his 19 years, he was soon a familiar figure as he canvassed Montmartre looking for business.

It was not until Christmas 1927 that he landed his first client, designing an ad featuring silverware and watches for a neighborhood jewellery store.

Realizing that radio could be a powerful advertising medium, he moved so fast to capitalize on his idea that by 1929 Publicis was the exclusive agent for all 18 Government-run radio stations.

1926, a young and fiercely independent Bleustein launched his own agency Publicis ( joining the French words ‘publicité’ (advertising) and ‘six,’ his lucky number.)

He was just 20 years old.

He was sure he could take French advertising beyond the banal – and that companies would be prepared to pay for help to create good ads.

He claims to have been turned on to the idea by a broker who used to pick up the ad copy he wrote for Leviton, his brother-in-law’s furniture stores for delivery to Havas.

Wanting to hide his age – and because advertising had such a bad reputation in France – Bleustein-Blanchet wore stripped trousers and a bowler hat to drum up his first business for Publicis.

It worked. He was a millionaire aged 23.

He set up a small office in a working-class neighborhood of Paris, later keeping the door of this office as a reminder of his humble beginnings.

His first clients were his family and friends.

His first breaks came through family friends: le Comptoir Cardinet, Lévitan furniture, André shoes and Brunswick furs.

The chance they took with him quickly paid off as their slogans became known all over France.

Seeking out new clients, he went door to door presenting the benefits of advertising to skeptical listeners.

Yet, Advertising then was not what we know today, and the profession suffered a dubious reputation.

Advertising is a rotten business but one day I will wipe out the shame.” ………………………. Marcel Bleustein-Blanchet

1927, Marcel Bleustein, undeterred by the somewhat odious reputation of Advertising, made a decision… he was going to turn Advertising into a real profession through Publicis.

He would transform it into an ethical industry that had standing, and was properly equipped to gauge public awareness and capture the spirit of the time.

1929, Mr. Bleustein-Blanchet hired his first employees.

At the time, Agence Havas, dominated print media.

Mr. Bleustein-Blanchet therefore turned to radio as an ad medium.

He traveled the French countryside approaching provincial stations and extending an exclusive contract to them to book ad time in return for guaranteeing them yearly revenue.

1934, He so saturated the airwaves with Publicis client advertising commercials that five years later the Government banned advertising on state-run stations.

The austere Georges Mandel became minister responsible for the Post Office and its services, and he banned all advertising on radio. Bleustein was ruined.

But he picked himself up and created his own radio station, Radio Cite. The risk paid off.

It was a great success, thanks to the artists who appeared there, including many who were becoming famous, such as Tino Rossi, Charles Trenet, Edith Piaf and Jean Sablon.

And Bleustein was the inventor of the advertising slogan. His phrases were repeated on the radio and throughout France. Many are still remembered.

In the days of furs and fur coats, there was the unforgettable “Brunswick, le fourreur qui fait fureur”. Bleustein was part of French life.

Mr. Bleustein-Blanchet, who tended to read such setbacks as opportunities, reacted by buying a private station in Paris and transforming it into Radio Cite.

Radio-Cite transformed French radio by introducing a mix of news, game shows, commercial spots and popular entertainers as well as its first radio jingles.

It became the first station in France to broadcast from 6 A.M. to midnight and the first to offer contests, commercial jingles, talent searches and on-the-scene news reporting, not to mention the first to broadcast the music of Maurice Chevalier and Edith Piaf.

Edith Piaf made her first broadcasts on Radio-Cite and from it the French first heard news of the German-Austrian Anschluss.

Mr. Bleustein-Blanchet also explored cinema advertising and produced ad shorts beginning in the mid-1930s.

1936, everything accelerates. Radio, cinema, press … Marcel Bleustein creates the 1st multimedia offer.

In response to new demands, he tailors media plans to various targets and just like that, Marketing is born.

1937, he creates Régie Presse, an Advertising space in newspapers sales house and increases his visits to the USA, convinced that rational methods can be applied to the creative process.

1938, he met Georges Gallup, the pioneer of opinion polls in the USA.

Cine Radio Cite 1936 Montparnasse, Paris

He established a subsidiary that managed the distribution of cinema advertising and by the time World War II broke out, Publicis had exclusive distribution rights to more than half of France’s movie houses.

1939, War is declared and so begins the dark years for both France and Publicis.

Marcel Bleustein married Sophie Vaillant, an English teacher who was the granddaughter of Edouard Vaillant, a well-known 19th century Socialist politician.

They had three daughters, including Elisabeth Badinter, a prominent feminist writer and philosopher who chairs the supervisory board of Publicis Groupe.

With the advance of German forces on Paris, Mr. Bleustein-Blanchet and his family relocated to southern France.

1940, Radio Cité was taken over by the Nazis and Publicis, identified as a Jewish business, was forced to close, with the Vichy Government confiscated much of his personal property.

Marcel Bleustein became an active member of the Resistance under the assumed name “Blanchet.”

1942, After Germany occupied all of France in Mr. Bleustein-Blanchet made a daring escape to Spain, by truck hiding under loads of vegetables and coal,where he was imprisoned briefly.

1943, Fleeing to London to escape the Gestapo, he flew bombing missions with the US Air Force and became an aide to General De Gaulle, serving with the Free French flying reconnaissance missions as a co-pilot for the US Eighth Air Force, flying bombing missions over France and Holland.

He also became press officer to General Koenig, the chief commander of the armed Resistance movement.

Returning to Paris for the liberation, only to find that retreating German forces had blown up his radio station a day earlier.

1945, due to the war, he had lost everything: his personal belongings and professional assets.

Everything that is, except his honor, the loyalty of his teams and clients.His qualities were also firmly in tact: courage, unfailing intuition, his persuasiveness, his keen sense of modernity and humanity.

After the war, he became a member of the French Legion of Honor.

Returning to Paris after the Liberation, he became Bleustein-Blanchet.

1946, Surrounded by his old employees, he sets up the new Publicis at 65 Champs-Elysées.

He regained many of Publicis’ former clients for the agency, but was unable to relaunch Radio-Cite as the government had nationalized all radio stations in France.

The first activity that got off the ground was Régie-Presse due to the enormous number of newspapers that sprouted up.

It was the golden age of the press before the rise of television.

True to his friends, Marcel Bleustein, intervened to save France Soir, a huge deal in the press industry of the 1950s.

While the Advertising industry was slow to get up and running, the loyalty of Bleustein’s prewar clients helped him revive his business.

His staff grew from 20 to 200 over the course of 10 years.

1947, Publicis grows quickly, thanks to a resurgence of prosperity and partnerships struck with iconic brands: Colgate-Palmolive, Weil, Sopad-Nestlé and Shell etc. (American clients were important because they gave Publicis advice concerning advertising and marketing techniques.)

1948, Marcel Bleustein contacts E. Dichter, an American specialist in motivational studies.

In a country that was once mistrustful of the very idea of advertising, Bleustein-Blanchet was a pioneering figure in getting it recognized as a reputable industry.

He set out to make ads that were honest and informative, putting the brand in touch with the consumer.

In a pioneering move, he established France’s first market research department and introduced George Gallup and Ernest Dichter’s studies in opinion polling and motivation to advertising

He’s convinced that scientific and empirical analysis of behaviors, and of the future, will be extremely useful “decision making tools.”

Publicis becomes the first French agency to strike a deal with IFOP (Institut français d’opinion publique) and to acquire a department dedicated to Studies and Research.

1950s, Publicis successfully secures Pinay, a government loan project… therefore creating the 1st financial communication.

1951, Publicis continues its rise up the Champs-Elysées, moving into number 75. The Advertising industry explodes as the consumer becomes king. Publicis wins many major campaigns in quick succession. It grows from 26 employees in 1946 to over a hundred by 1950, to 207 by 1955.

This photograph was taken in the courtyard of the Invalides on October 31, 1953, during the award of the legion of honor (officers) in military capacity to Lazare Rachline, Victor Gerson and Marcel Bleustein. At their side, General Koenig.

1954, the founder of Publicis officially adds his Resistance pseudonym, Blanchet, to his name becoming Marcel Bleustein-Blanchet.

1956 Publicis surfs a wave of prosperity, its cult campaigns are bang on target. The green giant and the Marlboro cowboy drive the American Advertising landscape.

1957, Publicis creates “Publicis Corp.” in New York. While consumerism reigns, the prejudices against its producers are many. Publicis decides to open the public’s eyes to the reality of companies.

Hhe opened the first “Publicis Drugstore” on the ground level of Publicis’ headquarters, 133 avenue des Champs Elysées, former location of the Astoria hotel.

The success brought the fulfillment of a lifelong dream when he acquired an old hotel that had been used as Allied headquarters in World War II and made it his corporate headquarters, giving him an address on the Champs-Elysees.

The “Drugstore” was a huge success and immediately became the rendez vous point of the cool parisian youth.

1958, as a precursor to corporate communication, it creates the “industrial information” department. Even in the early days, Publicis was constantly redefining the industry.

1958, Publicis continues to innovate as mass consumerism takes hold.

It is communications that start to mark the difference as the agency starts to create increasingly tailored strategies.

1960, Publicis adds a new dimension to the profession – Communication and Image – nourishing its strategic thinking with psycho/sociology, statistics and semiotics.

As one of several philanthropic activities, Bleustein-Blanchet created the Fondation de la Vocation, to help disadvantaged young people.

1961, Publicis has considerably diversified its offer.

Concepts, strategies, communication techniques, Publicis lays the foundations for modern communications. Advertising is on top.

New major clients, such as L’Oreal and Renault, entrust their image to the agency. They will still be with Publicis 50 years later.

But it isn’t just the large brands that count… Publicis continues to support its smaller clients with the same passion and commitment and will help catapult these little known brands into the public arena.

1964 he helped Boursin with its first-ever campaign.

1966, with its new HQ, its new logo, its historic clients and pioneering spirit, Publics has laid the foundations of a successful company.

Marcel Bleustein-Blanchet asks Van Cleef & Arpels to create a gift for its employees. It creates a lion’s head surround by 14 sunrays.

In this symbolic year of the two “6s” Van Cleef & Arpels creates the Publicis logo, without even realizing.

1967, it opens its 1st office in Brussels.

1968, the year of the social and cultural revolution, is full of paradox: consumerism is largely disparaged yet it is the year that French television agrees to advertising.

Following years of battle, Publicis has won: the Boursin campaign will be the 1st advertising film broadcast on TV with its cult signature, “Du pain, du vin, du Boursin” (Bread, wine, Boursin).

BSN launches a hostile takeover bid for Saint-Gobain.

Publicis is called upon for help by “the prey.”- they sign the 1st crisis communications deal and set the scene for other future stock market battles that will play out in the media.

1969, Publicis has 700 employees

By the 1970s, Publicis and Agence Havas were by far the two largest French ad agencies.

However, in world rankings they trailed the American ad giants. In order to compete with such U.S. shops as J. Walter Thompson Co. and Young & Rubicam, in the early 1970s Mr. Bleustein-Blanchet sold a minority stake in Publicis on the Paris Bourse and used the cash that was generated to acquire agencies in other European countries.

1970 enters the Paris Stock Exchange.

1971, Publicis hires a young IT professional, Maurice Lévy, who is quickly noticed.

September 27 1972, a fire destroys Publicis.

Its founder, now 66 years old is powerless to help.

The fire last night is believed by the fire department to have started in waste in a basement room.

Within about half an hour it had engulfed the whole building.

One person died and half a dozen were injured.

But the several hundred people in Le Drugstore and the Publicis movie theater were evacuated safely.

The fire department denied charges it was late, but said that the alarm was turned on late.

The fire also destroyed Marcel’s collection of Eisenhower memorabilia and five paintings by 20th century masters.

The paintings were a Gauguin landscape of Pont‐Aven, a Chagall oil of a rooster surrounded by the painter’s familiar figures, a composition by Miró and two Dali paintings on glass.

Bleustein‐Blanchet said he did not remember the price of the paintings. He said he was much sadder about the loss of his small Eisenhower museum, a salon in the building where he had hung a portrait of the General with a personal dedication, the general’s tunic and Eisenhower letters addressed to him.

“Now I have lost my past,” he said. Mr. Bleustein‐Blanchet, a sergeant with the Free French Air Force in World War II, was on a liaison team in General Eisenhower’s Supreme Headquarters, Allied Forces Europe at the time of the Normandy landing. General Eisenhower later used the Publicis building, then the Hotel Astoria, as his headquarters.

The next morning, Bleustein-Blanchet went out onto a neighboring balcony to address his employees on the street below, boldly reassuring them that ” Publicis will go on!”  You will all be paid at the end of the month” 

A few weeks after the ordeal, Publicis – in a symbolic act – buys Intermarco in the Netherlands; one year after Farner, a Swiss company took it over.

This merger creates its 1st European network, which covers 14 countries.

That same year, Publicis dips its toe into the technology world and by creates SGIP, it also enters into the design universe with the creation of Carré Noir.

Determined and supported by his loyal workforce, Bleustein rebuilds Publicis as a leader.

1974, Publicis unveils its new HQ, a true symbol of modernity.

1975 Maurice Lévy is named CEO of Publicis France.

During the 1970s, under the leadership of Marcel Bleustein-Blanchet and his successor, Maurice Lévy, Publicis became an international communications group and is now the third largest communications group in the world.

1976 marks the beginning of a long and fruitful collaboration between Marcel Bleustein-Blanchet and Maurice Lévy, his future successor.

One created Publicis, the other will accelerate worldwide growth.

1977 the sector experiences some upheaval caused by diversification and internationalization.

Carefully anticipating the challenges, Publicis launches an acquisitions strategy.

New York Times 25th May 1977 page 83

1978, it acquires UK agency Mc Cormick.

1980 the French network has considerably expanded and covers 12 cities.

Driven by the evolving demands of clients who want an extended offer, Publicis strengthens is portfolio to offer direct marketing, PR, recruitment advertising, corporate communications, financial, health, new technologies consultancy, media activity, production etc

1983, Publicis introduces the concept of global communication.

1984, 23 offices in Europe and the US, adopt the Publicis brand.

Its new dimension, its geographic reach, its creative sense, is worthy of its European Parliament campaign win “Europe: a democracy reunites us.”

1986, the growth strategy really pays off as Publicis is named one of the TOP 20 communications’ groups in the world.

1987, M. Bleustein-Blanchet transform the agency’s structure, one that is fit for 2 men, who will soon become inseparable: M. Marcel Bleustein-Blanchet becomes chairman of the supervisory board, while Maurice Lévy is made chairman of the management board.

1988, His last major act as director of Publicis was to promote the ill-fated merger with the U.S advertising agency Foote, Cone & Belding in 1988.

Mr. Bleustein-Blanchet had long sough to enter the lucrative U.S. market and saw an alliance with FCB as a mutually beneficial arrangement.

Unfortunately, a clash of business cultures created mistrust and misunderstandings between the two partners.

1990, Mr Bleustein-Blanchet retired from Publicis in 1990, after leading the agency for more than 60 years.

Under M. Lévy’s leadership international expansion explodes.Marcel Bleustein-Blanchet organizes a dinner for “1000 friends” bringing together loyal clients, artists, political and media personalities.

Ever the visionary he gives a speech about his project to help youth employment:

“ The ideas that we think are impossible to make happen, are often ahead of their time […]. Only one thing interests me: the future.”

1993, Publicis takes control of the FCA agency and forms its 2nd European network.

The economic crisis is brewing and the Evin and Sapin laws conspire to create further difficulties for the Advertising sector. Lay offs are rife except at Publicis. Maurice Lévy launches his “economic revolution”: to save jobs via collective salary reduction. The agency weathers the storm and comes out of it stronger than ever.

1994, Publicis embraces the Internet and the online recruitment of talent begins. The Internet will plunge the world into the 3rd Millennium.

1995 FCB attempts to take control of Publicis, which swiftly breaks up the alliance. For Maurice Lévy, keen to support clients, it is vital that Publicis create its own worldwide network – one that it is independent and boasts a comprehensive offer. Development is accelerated.

Publicis is present in 76 countries and 130 cities, and is ranked 7th in the world. The decade enjoys many standout campaigns: Whirlpool, Perrier, Clio, Levi’s, SFR … and Coca Cola.

1996, Publicis loses its founder Marcel Bleustein-Blanchet, aged 89, on the 11th April, 1996 in Paris.

The entire advertising profession, in France and in the USA, paid homage to the man considered to be the father of French advertising.

His daughter Elisabeth Badinter took over as president of the Supervisory Board and built a genuine partnership with Lévy upon which Publicis Groupe’s success developed.

Until his very last breathe M. Bleustein-Blanchet lived for Publicis: “What’s happening with the Pope’s capaign?* If you win the budget, it will be my real Légion d’honneur,” he tells Maurice Lévy, on April 10, the eve of his death.

The traditional 7 days of mourning are respected before Publicis is informed of its victory.

Publicis continues to grow globally and begins business in Brazil. Mexico, Canada, Singapore, Philippines quickly follow.

1997, true to its roots, Publicis acquires TV6, the 1st privately owned French TV chain.

1998, enriches its portfolio with new expertise. It has already defined its innovative development the holistic difference.

2000, the “Holistic Difference” is born! Publicis then begins a series of major acquisitions.

It launches a successful takeover bid of Saatchi & Saatchi, the globally recognized creative group.

Publicis has enriched its reach with its 2nd global creative network, reinforcing its presence both in Europe and the USA. With new prestigious clients to boot.

Publicis Groupe is introduced to Wall Street.

2001 ZenithOptimedia, the consulting and media-buying network, goes global.

2001 the World Trade Center collapses.

2002, Publicis launches a surprise but friendly takeover of Bcom3 (Leo Burnett, MSL, SMG…) and signs a partnership with Dentsu.

The Groupe is now present in more than 100 countries and on 5 continents, and is ranked the 4th largest communications company in the world.

2003, Zenith Optimedia becomes its first global media network.

2004, PHCG, its first global health network is created.

2005, Publicis gets its first official rating from S&P and Moody’s.

It marks a new era for the Publicis Groupe.

2006, Publicis, always one step ahead, understands the importance of the Internet.

It takes over Digitas (USA), the leader in digital communications, putting it at the head of the market with unrivalled digital expertise.

2007, the successful integration of Digitas into the Groupe, marks the first piece of a new puzzle that will be put together over the next decade.

The “Human Digital Agency” project helps kick off the Groupe’s digital transformation. Publicis Groupe is delisted from the NYSE.

2008, Publicis and Google announce their collaboration.

In October, Publicis acquires Razorfish, the second largest global digital agency, from Microsoft and together the two heavyweights reach a global agreement in the média domain.

Twelve years after his death, the American Advertising Federation announced that Marcel Bleustein-Blanchet would become the first non-American to be named to the Advertising Hall of Fame.

2009, VivaKi is created.

Publicis becomes the 3rd largest communications group in the world.

2011 it acquires Rosetta, a large US digital agency.

It organizes the world’s first digital summit, the é-G8, firmly establishing its position as an e-digital leader.

2012, Publicis takes over LBi, a European network that is then merged with Digitas, giving birth to the 1st global digital network.

Publicis and AOL create online advertising in real time.

2013, Publicis and Omnicom announce plans to merge.

2014, the project is shelved due to lack of agreement over governance issues.

Publicis bounces back with the take over of Sapient, a gem that had been coveted for months.

2015, the first global digital platform, Publicis.Sapient, is created.

A seminar brings together the 300 most senior managers of the Groupe for the “Power of One” project, its catalyst for transformation.

Publicis Groupe announces its new organization.

There the foundations of his business savvy were set as he grew to relish the excitement of a successful sale.

His dreams, however, were elsewhere, as he saw a future for himself in advertising.

When his father criticized him for wanting to sell “nothing but air” the cocky youngster was quick to respond, “and what makes windmills go round?”

At a time when France’s chattering classes looked on advertising with disdain, he was always learning from the Americans how to do it better.

Ironically, his efforts were to lay the foundations for a group that was to provide a significant counterbalance to the US colonisation of global advertising with an empire that today embraces Saatchi & Saatchi, Leo Burnett and Starcom MediaVest Group.

Yet advertising was just one of several lives Bleustein-Blanchet packed into the one that ended in April 1996 at the age of 89.




Notable Quotes by Marcel

“If you wait for things to change, they change without you. At a certain point you must let go of your rationality and jump- and jump correctly, of course. I did, whether by luck or instinct.”

“Advertising has become a crossroads where all modern techniques and even sciences meet: sociology, psychology, economics, communication, marketing, design. It has become so rich, so complete, so rigorous and so precise that you might say it is a digest of our culture.”

“To produce without information, is like doing half the job.”

“That’s the paradox of advertising: you are dealing with everyone and yet with someone in particular. Advertising is about achieving collective intimacy.”

“There is really no good advertising for bad products. Advertising is like proposing – and to succeed in love you must believe in it. To project yourself into the future you must permanently renew your lifeline.”

“In the brave but cold new world of technology, advertising can be a kind of a human bulwark. In the dreamworld of technology, it can be a contact point with reality. I believe that in the future advertising will play that role more than ever. It will bring us back to real things when we lose touch with them in our increasingly abstract world. It will constantly reaffirm our relationships with others, because what we consume links us with our communities.”

“The priceless ingredient of advertising, and of all successes: the rage to win, the rage to persuade.”

“The trick to realizing your dreams is to remain a child your whole life long.”.

Immortalized in song by Serge Gainsbourg and Jacques Dutronc, the Drugstore Years are a definitive piece of the French fashion Hall of Fame.

Young Parisian dandies, they abandoned morality for a more hedonistic lifestyle. Music, fashion, seduction… their obsession: showing off a certain luxury that they expressed in a way of being that made all the difference.

The story of these “blousons dorés” all began on one of Marcel Bleustein-Blanchet’s nocturnal wanderings in Manhattan in 1949.


I had been at someone’s house for business. At midnight, I found myself in the street without having eaten dinner, lost. I suddenly noticed a light coming from a small store. I went in to ask the way. In two minutes, I was able to get a hamburger, a toothbrush, a newspaper, a pack of cigarettes. To get the same thing in Paris, I would have had to hunt down a tobacco store, go into a café, and give up on the toothbrush for lack of an open pharmacy. At that moment, at midnight, I had everything I needed.”

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