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The Advertising Century

Robert Jacoby

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Robert Jacoby
(1928- )
Ted Bates & Co., New York

A Princetonian and oil company economist, Jacoby left Compton Advertising to join Bates in 1962 and became chairman in 1973. On May 12, 1986, he set off an industrywide firestorm by agreeing to sell Bates, then billing $3.1 billion, to the Saatchi brothers for $507 million. Some 320 Bates shareholders profited from Saatchi's spending spree, but it was Jacoby's share, more than $110 million, that roiled the waters. Believing their long-held suspicions about agency profits had been confirmed, advertisers put more pressure on agencies for the demise of the traditional 15% commission, questioning loyalties and "marketing partnerships." Bates lost $322 in billings and the deal unleashed suspicions that still animate the industry.

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