Obit: Ad Industry Forecaster Bob Coen, Dead At 93

Robert J. Coen, a long-time Interpublic executive who was Madison Avenue’s de facto bean counter for more than six decades, died Nov. 18, 2016 at his home in West Orange, NJ, according to an obituary in The Star-Ledger. He was 93.
Coen, who officially retired as Interpublic’s director of forecasting in 2009, was known to still frequent the agency’s offices in recent years.
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.

He became the industry’s first forecaster as part of McCann-Erickson’s long-time role studying the effects advertisinghad on the U.S. and the global economy. The agency has estimates on ad spending volume going back to 1776.



“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,” stated Philippe Krakowsky, Chairman of IPG Mediabrands.

6 comments about "Obit: Ad Industry Forecaster Bob Coen, Dead At 93".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, January 6, 2017 at 11:55 a.m.

    Sorry to read this. I knew Bob and often discussed media subjects in addition to ad spending forecasts with him. He was a real media pioneer.

  2. Mark Stewart from Townsquare Media, January 6, 2017 at 3:13 p.m.

    I had the great pleasure to work alongside Bob for many years at McCann and UM. A remarkable man who was both a lifelong leader and a student of his craft throughout his entire career. He was an intelligent, curious, and insightful gentleman, respected and revered by all who knew him and by all who relied on his big view and forecasts. God bless Bob and his wonderful family.      

  3. Alan Schulman from Deloitte Digital, January 6, 2017 at 3:48 p.m.

    I had the great honor of occupying an office next to Bob during my years at McCann.  It was the very early days of digital and I enjoyed fascinating conversations with Bob about the potential future of digital spend.  Even at 78 years old, he lit up when talking about how digital would effect forecasting - how it would be measured and whether it would be CPM based.  He was an industry legend and will be greatly missed.

  4. Alan Cohen from Giant Spoon, January 6, 2017 at 6:02 p.m.

    What a great guy. Spoke to him many many times. Sad to read. 

  5. Jerry Gibbons from Gibbons Advice, January 7, 2017 at 12:27 p.m.

    So sorry for Bob's family.  He was a man of great integraty and he is missed.

  6. Leo Kivijarv from PQ Media, January 9, 2017 at 2:48 p.m.

    Sorry to hear of Bob's passing. He gave credibility to the advertising forecasting industry. I had the pleasure of being on panels with him, including one instance in the early 2000s in which I unknowningly quoted one of his statistics that I had heard in college in the 1970s. I always knew that my life would get hectic for the upcoming six months once Bob released his annual ad forecast in early December at what is now the UBS Media Conference, when I prepared forecasts for the entire media industry (not just advertising) for the Veronis Suhler Stevenson Communication Industry Forecast.

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