Alvin Achenbaum

Alvin Achenbaum (December 11, 1925 – January 26, 2016) was an advertising executive and marketing management consultant of the late 20th century. He was founder and president of the Achenbaum Institute of Marketing.

Alvin Achenbaum
Alvin A. Achenbaum

December 11, 1925
DiedJanuary 26, 2016
Alma materUniversity of California, Los Angeles; Columbia University
OccupationMarketing Management Consultant
Spouse(s)Barbara Achenbaum
Leila Auerbach Goldberg Lebendig

Early life and education

Achenbaum was born to a Jewish family[1][2] in 1925 in Bronx County, New York, the son of a dressmaker.[3] He attended Taft High School and went on to earn a bachelor's degree in Business Economics from the University of California, Los Angeles and a master's degree in Business Economics from Columbia University.[3][4] After school, he served as a Corporal in the Army Air Corps during World War II.[3]


From 1951 to 1974, Achenbaum held senior executive positions at four major advertising agencies in New York City: McCann Erickson, J. Walter Thompson, Grey Advertising, and Ted Bates, where he served as vice chairman, overseeing all professional services.

Marketing management consultant

Achenbaum served as chairman at a series of marketing management consultancies for 40 years, including Canter, Achenbaum and Associates, which he co-founded with longtime colleague Stanley Canter in 1974,[5] and Achenbaum, Bogda Associates, which he formed with Pete Bogda in 1993.[6] Some of these firms' clients included Procter and Gamble, GE, Nestle, Kraft, Honda, and the United States Department of Defense.[7]

Achenbaum regularly spoke out about emerging trends and the future of advertising and marketing, challenging many of the accepted business practices of the day.[8] He wrote weekly columns for Ad Age and Marketing Week in the 1980s.[9] He generated considerable controversy by challenging the nature of the relationship between advertising agencies and their clients. His consulting work contributed to major changes in both the advertising agency selection process and the development of negotiated agency compensation agreements.[10]

In addition to his work as a practitioner, Achenbaum was an adjunct professor of marketing at the Baruch College of the City University of New York. He also guest lectured at numerous universities, including New York University, Columbia University, and McGill. He was a member of the editorial board of many key professional organizations, including the Market Research Council and the American Marketing Association. Achenbaum is also the author of Lessons Learned: A Practitioner's Guide to Successful Marketing.[11]

Achenbaum Institute of Marketing

In 2005, Achenbaum retired from management consulting and turned his efforts toward preparing aspiring marketing professionals and scholars. He founded the Achenbaum Institute of Marketing. In 2012, the Institute donated Achenbaum's professional papers (research studies, presentations, articles, correspondence and speeches) to The John W. Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising & Marketing History at Duke University Libraries.[12] The Hartman Center praised the collection as "one of the rare collections which covers the breadth of a person’s career, while also documenting the internal workings of a number of agencies and consulting firms."[13] The papers comprise over 80,000 items and contain approximately 100 linear feet of material, documenting over fifty years of Achenbaum's professional life.

In 2013, the Achenbaum Institute of Marketing established the Alvin A. Achenbaum Travel Grant Program, which sponsors travel for scholars of marketing, research and advertising to study at the Hartman Center. In 2013, the Institute published Lessons Learned: A Practitioner’s Guide to Successful Marketing, an instructional guide for students and marketers based on the business lessons Achenbaum learned during his long career.[14]

In 1987, Achenbaum was elected to the Market Research Hall of Fame.[15] In 2000, he was named one of the most influential advertising people of the 20th century by Advertising Age.[16]

Personal life

Achenbaum has been married twice. In 1984, he married Barbara, a schoolteacher at Masters School in Dobbs Ferry, New York; they had three children, Jon Achenbaum, Lisa Achenbaum Kounitz and Martha Achenbaum Bratt.[1][17][18] His second wife was Montreal-born Leila Auerbach Goldberg Lebendig who had four children from a previous marriage.[1][19] He died on January 26, 2016; services were held at Riverside Memorial Chapel.[1] He was buried at New Montefiore Cemetery in West Babylon, Suffolk County, New York.


  1. "Alvin Achenbaum Obituary". The New York Times. January 28, 2016.
  2. "CJH News (No. 9)" (PDF). Center for Jewish History. 2003.
  3. Kanner, Bernice (November 7, 1988). "Hired Gun". New York Magazine. pp. 26–28.
  4. Alvin Achenbaum's Curriculum Vitae ( Archived 2015-06-11 at the Wayback Machine)
  5. Canedy, Dana (May 3, 1999). "Stanley D. Canter, 75, an Adviser to Corporations". The New York Times.
  6. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-11-10. Retrieved 2013-11-10.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  7. "John W. Hartman Center Alvin A. Achenbaum Papers".
  8. The New York Times: May 23, 1988 (
  9. Clients, Publications and Speeches of Alvin Achenbaum ( Archived 2015-06-11 at the Wayback Machine)
  10. Adweek: February 8, 2005 (
  11. Alvin Achenbaum (October 11, 2014). Lessons Learned: A Practitioner's Guide to Successful Marketing. Jackson Harvell. ISBN 9780990923008.
  12. Dedication of the Alvin A. Achenbaum Professional Papers at Duke University (
  13. John W. Hartman Center Spring 2013 Newsletter: page 4 (
  14. "Lessons Learned: A Practitioner's Guide to Successful Marketing" by Alvin A. Achenbaum: Copyright 2013 ( Archived 2014-05-17 at the Wayback Machine)
  15. Market Research Council Hall of Fame (
  16. Ad Age's List of the 100 most important Advertising People of the 20th Century (
  17. "Barbara Barrow To Marry in July". The New York Times. May 27, 1984.
  18. "Weddings; Miss Achenbaum And Mr. Bratt". The New York Times. July 12, 1998.
  19. "Leila (Auerbach) Achenbaum". The New York Times. June 28, 2008.
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