1906 – 1996
Who was Marcel Bleustein-Blanchet?
Marcel Bleustein-Blanchet was a ground-breaking French advertising magnate best known as the founder of Publicis Groupe, currently the third largest communications group worldwide. He 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 son of Abraham Bleustein, a Russian-Jewish furniture salesman in northern Paris, Marcel Bleustein left school at the age of 14 to help out in the family furniture business. He founded Publicis in 1926 in a small apartment above a butcher’s shop. In 1935, he purchased a radio station which he renamed Radio Cité, and introduced France’s first news broadcasts as well as its first radio jingles. Radio Cité also helped launch singer Edith Piaf.
In 1939, Marcel Bleustein married Sophie Vaillant, an English teacher who was the granddaughter of Edouard Vaillant, a well-known 19th century Socialist politician.. When the Second World War broke out, Marcel Bleustein's companies were confiscated by the German occupation forces as "Jewish properties". He joined the Resistance, took the code-name Blanchet, and was detached to serve as a co-pilot for the US Eighth Air Force, flying bombing missions over France and Holland. When the war ended, he rebuilt Publicis from scratch, introducing the first opinion polls in France and developing the then-American fields of consumer research and brand analysis. He retained his Resistance name of Blanchet, adding it legally to his original name.
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