Jacques Dauphin

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Jacques Dauphin

Jacques Dauphin (July 4, 1923 – April 1, 1994) was a French advertising pioneer[1] founder and CEO of Dauphin OTA. He is best known as the father of modern billboard advertising.[2][3][4]

Early life and education[edit]

After graduating with a law degree from Faculte de droit de Paris and from HEC Paris, Jacques Dauphin re-opened the Parisian-based office created by his father Eugene Dauphin[5] in 1921 who closed it during WWII to prevent any collaboration with the Nazis. He then developed the company to a broader scale after the French Liberation expanding its activities (mainly billboard advertising and radio) to other European countries including the UK, Belgium, Italy or Spain.[5] Jacques Dauphin has notably created and developed the 4x3 format that remains today the international standard format used in billboard advertising worldwide.


His professional achievements have been honoured in several occasions and he has successively occupied the following positions: president (1958 - 1966) of the national outdoor advertising federations of France, Germany, Belgium, Finland, Italy and the Netherlands best known as FEPE that he created[1] and the International Advertising Association. He was then vice-president (1969), president (1972 - 1974), and honorary president of the French Chambers of advertising. He presided the 3rd World Congress of Outdoor Advertising in London in 1972. He was a member of the International Commission « Publicité distribution » of the International Chamber of Commerce, and co-president of Grand prix international de l´affichage. He has been made Knight of the Legion of Honour and Knight of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French authorities.[6]

Personal Interests[edit]

Dauphin’s campaign and billboard advertising in support of the Cannes Film Festival - 1989

Through Dauphin OTA Jacques Dauphin was also particularly active in the promotion of the arts and image.

He notably promoted the Cannes Film Festival and the French International Contemporary Art Fair best known as FIAC.

Through Dauphin, Jacques Dauphin has commissioned and inspired various artists, such as Daniel Buren or François Morellet among others.

Jacques Dauphin has turned billboard advertising into a popular art form, a witness of the contemporary society, and one of the leading media of the XXth century in Europe.

Other facts[edit]

After the tragic death of his only son Laurent in 1988, and due to the young age of his only granddaughter Charlotte, Jacques Dauphin had no heir to take up the business.

After Jacques Dauphin died in 1994, it has been decided that Dauphin billboard advertising would subsequently be sold. The American conglomerate Clear Channel acquired Dauphin OTA in 1999. The company became an emblematic part of its outdoor communication division.[7][8]

His only heiress is his only granddaughter Charlotte de La Rochefoucauld (born Charlotte Dauphin in 1987) who has married Comte Charles-Henri de La Rochefoucauld in 2012 in Saint-Louis des Invalides cathedral in Paris, France.[9][10]

Jacques Dauphin's life and career, his personality, leadership, and his passion for sailing have inspired French film director Claude Lelouch for his film Itinerary of a Spoiled Child and its lead character Sam Lion.


“Billboard advertising is a visual rape.”

“Our billboards are our stage, our trestles: we are an entertainment business, a performing art company.”

“Billboards are the infantry of advertising.”


  1. ^ a b "The History of FEPE". FEPE official website.
  2. ^ Durand, Dominique (1985). Le Livre du Mur Peint (Painted Walls) - Preface by Jacques Dauphin as the inventor of painted walls as advertising mediums. Paris: Editions Alternatives. p. 166.
  3. ^ "Innovation and OOH are synonymous: John Ellery". Jacques Dauphin is cited as "legendary".
  4. ^ "Notre histoire".
  5. ^ a b Barrett, Lucy. "Media Briefs". Marketing. Retrieved 17 June 1999. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  6. ^ "Dauphin Coat of Arms and Name History". House of Names.
  7. ^ "Company History". Clear Channel official website.
  8. ^ "Clear Channel Buys Stake In French Outdoor Ad Company". San Diego Daily Transcript.
  9. ^ William 1. "Hanover8".
  10. ^ The Royal forums. "Noble Marriages Announcements 2012". The Royal Forum.


  1. Jacques Dauphin CEO of advertising company La France défigurée - 19/07/1971

Further reading[edit]

  1. Clear Channel Regains Global Leadership, Marketing Week (01419285);06/17/99, Vol. 22 Issue 20, p13.
  2. Neil Bennett, Neon coup for Clear Channel, The Telegraph; 01 Oct 2000.
  3. Clear Channel Acquires French Railway Advertising, PRNewswire; 18 May 2000.
  4. "The smartest bus shelters ever", The Economist, May 11, 2000 | from the print edition

External links[edit]

See also[edit]