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Advertising Educational Foundation Founder Alfred J. Seaman Dies

Was Proponent of Ad Industry Self-Regulation

By Published on .

Alfred J. Seaman, a founder and honorary chairman of the Advertising Educational Foundation, died on May 26 at his home in Upper Brookville, N.Y., surrounded by his four children. He was a few months shy of his 100th birthday.

Alfred J. Seaman
Alfred J. Seaman

Throughout his significant career as an advertising executive, Mr. Seaman was an active proponent of self-regulation in the industry. He was always looking to find ways to ensure that creative developed by agencies was truthful and protective of the consumer, said Paula Alex, CEO of the Advertising Educational Foundation.

As a result, he was integral in founding the National Advertising Review Board and was an honorary director at the Advertising Council after serving many years on the Campaign Review Committee. He also was a former chairman of the American Association of Advertising Agencies.

According to Ms. Alex, some consider Mr. Seaman's statement he made before the FTC called "The Power of Words" to be an influential position paper for the industry.

Mr. Seaman started his advertising career as a copywriter at Compton Advertising after serving as a Navy lieutenant during WWII. He rose rapidly through the ranks to exec VP before joining SSC&B in 1959. In 1960 he became president and CEO of SSC&B.

He retired in 1981 as chairman of the board and CEO of SSC&B: Lintas, Inc., as well as a member of the executive committee of the Interpublic Group of Companies.

Following his retirement, Mr. Seaman in 1983 -- along with the heads of Y&R, McCann, Ogilvy & Mather, Dow Jones & Company, General Foods and other industry heavyweights -- formed the Advertising Educational Foundation. The mission of the nonprofit is to engage in a dialogue about the role of advertising in culture, society, and the economy. In 2002, he became the first recipient of the AEF Lifetime Achievement Award.

In addition to the many ways that he served the advertising industry, Mr. Seaman believed in the importance of doing his civic duty, said Ms. Alex, who also worked with him at SSC&B. To that end, he served many years as an elected official in Brookville, holding the position of mayor from 1966 until 1998.

Mr. Seaman was inducted into the Advertising Hall of Fame in 1983.

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