Jacques Bouchard has been credited with laying the foundations of what would become today’s Quebec advertising industry. Bouchard’s deep knowledge and understanding of what made Quebeckers tick was shared in his book, Les 36 cordes sensibles (How French Canadians live, love and think today), that defined the territory and clearly articulated Québec’s distinct character.
Jacques Bouchard began his career as a translator at Vickers & Benson, a copywriter at Steinberg’s then the Montreal office of J. Walter Thompson and as an advertising director at Labatt Breweries. In 1959, he founded the Publicité Club de Montréal, the first association of French-language ad executives.
In 1963 at the age of 35, he launched BCP with partners Paul Champagne and Pierre Pelletier. BCP was an agency run by francophones developing creative specifically for francophones, a move considered daring and controversial. “Creating different ads for Quebec seems something obvious today. But at the time, it made national headlines” said Yves Gougoux, now chairman and owner of BCP.
From Lui, y connaît ça (borrowed from a drinker in a tavern) to Mon bikini, ma brosse à dents, through Qu’est-ce qui fait don’chanter les p’tits Simard, Dominion nous fait manger and Il fait beau dans le Metro, Jacques Bouchard and his team gave shape and tone to an entire industry. He was first to feature Quebec stars and comics in advertising and to capitalize on the huge appeal of Quebec’s local celebrity scene. His copy lines became
For two decades, the greatest Quebecois campaigns came from BCP. Jacques Bouchard was everywhere, on all the juries, in all the debates. He was a driving force behind Trudeaumania. He created the Centre international de publicité sociétale (Sociétal) (1981) and was behind the idea of the Mondial de la publicité francophone (1998).
In 1993, Bouchard retired from advertising and bought a château in rural France. Together with his wife Caroline, he published a 2003 book, La vie de chatêau, about the joys and setbacks of their life in France. Once asked by a journalist how he felt when looking back on such an illustrious career, he answered, “I love advertising like a madman. I would gladly do it all again.”
Jacques Bouchard died on May 29, 2006 in Montreal at the age of 75.