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MediaPost, The Star-Ledger

Madison Avenue’s First and Best-Known Forecaster Dead at 93 — For Decades, He Was THE Person to Answer the Question, ‘How Much Will the Ad Industry Spend Next Year?’

Jan 9, 2017  •  Post A Comment

A veteran ad industry analyst who became a legend in the industry as Madison Avenue’s first and best-known forecaster, with a career spanning six decades, has died. MediaPost reports that longtime Interpublic executive Robert J. Coen, described in the story as “Madison Avenue’s de facto bean counter for more than six decades,” died Nov. 18, 2016, at his home in West Orange, N.J. He was 93.

The report cites an obituary in The Star-Ledger.

“Coen, who officially retired as Interpublic’s director of forecasting in 2009, was known to still frequent the agency’s offices in recent years,” MediaPost reports. “Coen, who was Madison Avenue’s first and best-known industry forecaster, had a career spanning 12 presidencies, which actually preceded the formation of Interpublic. Coen joined McCann-Erickson in 1948, 13 years before its parent holding company Interpublic was incorporated.”

MediaPost adds: “He became the industry’s first forecaster as part of McCann-Erickson’s longtime role studying the effects advertising had on the U.S. and the global economy. The agency has estimates on ad spending volume going back to 1776.”

In a statement, Philippe Krakowsky, Chairman of IPG Mediabrands, said: “Bob was a true pioneer, whose ad spending forecast was not only a first for our industry, but endures as an authoritative economic barometer to this day. Even though he was known as ‘Madison Avenue’s chief seer,’ Bob remained a soft-spoken and thoughtful presence. We extend our deepest condolences to Bob’s family, and our thanks for the 61 years he worked with IPG.”

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