Kevin J. Clancy was born and raised on City Island, New York, a small community of approximately 5,000 sea faring folk, many of whom are involved in maritime trades; boat building, boat servicing, sail making, marina operations, fishing and seafood restaurants. City Island is a traditional New England seaport which happens to be located within New York City limits.
Kevin's Dad Bill was an immigrant from Limerick City, Ireland, where his family had owned fishing rights to the river Shannon since the reign of King John in the thirteenth century. Kevin's Mom Anne-Marie Sullivan was a native New Yorker, a daughter of immigrants from Cork City, Ireland. The Sullivans enjoyed spending their summers on a houseboat on City Island where Bill and Anne met, courted and married, when they were in their early twenties.
Today, Kevin lives with his wife Kathleen, son Neville and proud sheltie Grace Kelly in Gloucester, Massachusetts, America’s oldest fishing port. Grace Kelly is named after a famous American actress who married Prince Rainier of Monaco and decades later was killed in a car accident. She was reincarnated as a beautiful sheltie and lives with the Clancys. Kevin enjoys writing, sailing, playing with hydroplanes, goofing around with his son and grandchildren and just plain living by the ocean.
While completing a Ph.D. in research methods and statistics at New York University, Clancy started his career with BBDO Advertising. After three years, he became Vice President and Senior Associate Director of Research with a staff of thirty professionals, working on half the agency’s accounts. At BBDO, Kevin developed an interest in marketing science, which gathered momentum when BBDO sent him to the Sloan School at MIT to complete a program in mathematical models in marketing.
Three years later, Kevin left to join the faculty of the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, where Clancy taught sociological and marketing research methods and statistics on the MBA and Doctoral levels. There he was recognized as an authority on response biases in survey research and on-air testing of television commercials with papers published in the top sociological and advertising journals.
He then moved on to Boston University as a tenured full Professor and Chairman of the Doctoral Program in Management. While at BU in 1982, Kevin and Robert Shulman started the first of three different consulting and research organizations. Clancy Shulman and Associates, was one of the first “productized” research and modeling organizations in the country. It offered research solutions and mathematical models to solve three major marketing problems: targeting; new product design; and new product forecasting, all based on sophisticated mathematical modeling. After three years, it was acquired by Saatchi & Saatchi, then the largest ad agency in the world. A year later, the late Robert Louis-Drefuss, CEO of Saatchi, asked Clancy and Shulman to take over the management of Yankelovich, Skelly and White, one of the pre-eminent research companies in America, which was rebranded as Yankelovich Clancy Shulman.
Kevin Clancy stayed with the firm for six years, helping transform it from a very creative but conventional survey research organization into a state-of-the-science research powerhouse. When Yankelovich Clancy Shulman was sold to a group of investment bankers in 1992, Clancy left the firm, spent time writing 2 books and doing a lot of sailing. Eighteen months later, Kevin and Robert Shulman opened the doors to Copernicus Marketing Consulting and Research. Below is a photo of Clancy and Shulman when they proudly announced the opening of their new practice.
Copernicus took its name from the 16th century astronomer Nicholas Copernicus who argued that the sun, not earth, was the center of the solar system. He based his ideas on rigorous analysis of 1,000 years of astronomical data using mathematical methods that only a handful of Europeans understood at that time. Inspired by Copernicus, Kevin Clancy argued that marketing, not finance, is the center of the business solar system. He has spent the last fifteen years promoting this perspective on the speaking circuit in North America, Europe, The Middle East, South America, and Asia. Clancy's view is that marketing needs to carefully balance creativity and intuition with science.
Kevin Clancy's ideas are well represented in eight different books, one of them twice a finalist for an American Marketing Association Foundation Prize as the best marketing book of the past three years, and in more than 400 speeches at professional conferences and articles published in trade and academic journals. Clancy's latest book, co-authored by his longtime partner, Peter Krieg, is positioned as an antidote to Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink. The title is Your Gut Is Still Not Smarter Than Your Head, New York: John Wiley, 2007.
In 2003, Kevin Clancy and his partners sold Copernicus to Aegis Group plc, now the 6th largest agency in the world, a UK based media and research conglomerate, the parent of both Carat and Synovate. Copernicus presently has offices in Boston, MA, Wilton, CT, Sao Paolo and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and Dubai with satellite offices in Cincinnati, Vero Beach, Phoenix, and Burlington, VT. Under Kevin’s leadership the firm has taken marketing and advertising research into the Board Room. The firm consults to the CEO’s and CMO’s of some of America’s largest companies, providing strategic recommendations for targeting, positioning, advertising, media placement, pricing, channels of distribution, new product development, marketing plans and ROI evaluation. Some of the firms work can be seen by going to the case history section of this website.
The Copernican goal is to help clients develop transformational marketing strategies—strategies, as Kevin likes to say, “which change brand trajectories, career paths, sometimes even entire companies and industries.” If this sounds like hyperbole, consider that Copernicus has published a book of its own case histories of transformational strategies. One of these strategies, developed for Exxon Mobil, has been called by Professors Kaplan and Norton, at the Harvard Business School, the inventors of the Balanced Scorecard, “one of the best examples of an integrated business strategy in the world.”
Copernicus clients include: Absolut Vodka, American Greetings, Bank of America, Bayer, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, BMW, Boehringer Ingelheim, Bombardier, Boston Beer, Bristol Myers Squibb, British Petroleum, Bulova, Cardinal Health, Chicago Tribune, Citizens Bank, Clorox Company, Coca-Cola, Comcast, Constellation Brands, Crayola, Deluxe Financial Services, Dubai Holding, Dunkin’ Donuts, Exxon Mobil, Federal Express, GE, Green Mountain Energy, The Hartford, Harvard University, Heinz, Hewlett-Packard, Hilton Hotels, IBM, Inbev, Ingram Micro, Johnson & Johnson, Lexus, Liberty Mutual, Lifetouch, MasterCard, Microsoft, NFL, Panera Bread, Pfizer, Philip Morris, Procter & Gamble, SAKS Fifth Avenue, Sony, Texas Instruments, Toyota, Travelers, Universal Studios, The University of Vermont, VISA and Wyeth Pharmaceuticals.
In summary, Kevin Clancy has been one of the leaders in the marketing profession for three decades. His books are on the desks of CEO’s and CMO’s. Clancy's articles are read by business practitioners, academics and students of marketing throughout the nation. The three companies he started and sold were in the forefront of scientific thinking in our profession. His frequent presentations to the American Marketing Association, Association of Strategic Planners, Association of National Advertisers, The Conference Board, various academic conferences and other organizations keep Copernican ideas salient. Kevin Clancy's thinking, concepts, methodologies and models are reflected in work done around the globe.
In 2008 Kevin J. Clancy was elected to the Marketing Research Hall of Fame by the Market Research Council, an organization founded in 1927 to promote the field of market research. This award is given to one person each year who is active in the profession. The Market Research Council’s mission is to stimulate scientific study and sound thinking in market research theory and practical application while striving for advancement in the techniques of fact-finding, analysis and presentation while encouraging the highest ethical practices in the preparation and use of marketing research. Other distinguished recipients of the Hall of Fame award include Ernest Dichter, George Gallup, David Ogilvy, Arthur Nielsen Sr., Elmo Roper and Daniel Yankelovich.