If you ever take the metro in Paris, you’ve probably seen these giant advertisements and wondered, “Who the hell is that old dude with the dreds and the sunglasses?” The French version of Grateful Dead? Nope. And he’s not selling Harley’s or even sunglasses. Nope. If you read the small print, you’ll see he’s the PDG (director) of the company Invicta, which sells fireplaces and stove heaters.
Okay. So why is his head bigger than the fireplaces he’s supposedly trying to sell? Being a foreigner, I assumed for many years that he was simply “famous in France” and I was a clueless Anglophone. Mais non. The French don’t know who he is, either.
One French commentator on the site paperblog.fr said it best (rough translation): “Over half of the 3 x 4 meter metro billboard of this stove manufacturer is taken up by the face of the company’s director, Jean Pierre Dupire. For some companies, their best image is that of their leader. But the problem is that Dupire is not known for anything. Worse, his trying-to-be-cool dreadlocks-beard-sunglasses style looks pretty silly next to the three small stoves in the ad. In short, this bad visual makes you almost forget the play on words of the slogan which just hangs there rotting. If the goal is to get people talking about the company, why not? Their only miscalculation: I’m not sure that Parisians are big consumers of stove heaters in their apartments.”
The newest poster (sorry for the resolution, I was across the tracks) has him with two women, and the vomit-inducing slogan: “Mes poêles les séduisent!” (They’re seduced by my stoves). Ugh. Please, someone, make it stop!