Spiegel History

The Spiegel Research Center continues the long tradition of incorporating mathematics, statistics and psychology to understand the principles of effective advertising at Northwestern. Professor Emeritus Ted Spiegel’s vision was to tie academic research more closely to the profession of marketing, which was his personal and professional heritage, to solve business problems. WATCH VIDEO

“We seek to contribute to moving marketing practice from faith to facts. It’s not enough simply to trust that certain marketing practices lead to purchase and re-purchase behavior. Our applied research — for use by academics and practitioners — proves which types of customer engagement with the brand deliver financial impact.” - Tom Collinger

Spiegel Company Founder, Joseph Spiegel

Sources: The Credit Merchants: A History of Spiegel, Inc

Spiegel's furniture shop opens in 1865 on Wabash Avenue in Chicago

Source: People Get the Credit; the First One Hundred Years of The Spiegel Story 1865-1965. Copyright 1954 by Spiegel, Inc.


Joseph Spiegel emigrates to Chicago and opens a retail turned mail- order business. Spiegel coupled a customer’s product purchases with demographics and payment history, a revolutionary practice for the time before digital customer analytics. These innovations gave Spiegel a data-driven and customer-centric edge.

Modie J. Spiegel

Source: People Get the Credit; the First One Hundred Years of The Spiegel Story 1865-1965. Copyright 1954 by Spiegel, Inc.


Modie Spiegel takes over as president of the Spiegel Company and worked at the company for 50 years. Under Modie’s leadership, the Spiegel company became a prominent part of American culture. Modie was featured in Time Magazine and met with John F. Kennedy and other celebrities.

Modie was a pioneer in customer-centric business tactics operating a huge business that people felt was like their local department store. Customers sent pictures of their kids wearing matching Spiegel outfits and themselves wearing Spiegel clothes on their wedding days.

Customers thanked him for the role that the Spiegel business had played in their lives. Under Modie’s leadership, Spiegel sold 6.6 billion in merchandise, took orders from 3.5 million people, and provided 200,000 jobs.

Walter Dill Scott served as professor and president at Northwestern University

Source: Public Domain, Library of Congress

Northwestern University

Source: Northwestern University Library Archives


Walter Dill Scott, a psychology professor, writes arguably the seminal text explaining how advertising works in The Psychology of Advertising in Theory and Practice. In doing so, he was a pioneer in bringing science and data to the field of advertising.

“The day of reckless, sporadic, haphazard advertising is rapidly coming to an end as far as magazine advertising is concerned.” -Walter Dill Scott, 1904, The Atlantic

His work fueled further research about how and why consumers make purchase decisions. Scott later went on to be the 10th university president and in 1921 established the Joseph Medill School of Journalism.


George Gallup, who would go on to pioneer the field of public opinion polling, serves on the advertising faculty at Medill. His service on the faculty is another piece of Medill’s foundation of reliance on understanding customer behavior and using that data to create engaging advertising.

George Gallup appearing on the television show “America Speaks" in which he predicted the outcome of the 1948 presidential election using data from public opinion polls.

Source: Public Domain, Library of Congress

George Gallup is featured on the May cover in 1948

Source: Retrieved from, TIme Magazine Published May 3, 1948. Cover Credit: Boris Artzybasheff

Ted with father M.J. Spiegel

Source: People Get the Credit; the First One Hundred Years of The Spiegel Story 1865-1965. Copyright 1954 by Spiegel, Inc.

Cover of Spiegel Catalog, April 1958

Source: Spiegel Spring/Summer 1958 Catalog cover CC By SA 3.0


Ted Spiegel, for whom the Spiegel Research Center is named, joins the family business, Spiegel, Inc. He served as vice president of marketing and left the company in 1988 and joined the faculty at Northwestern University.

News of changes coming to Medill appears in Northwestern University's newspaper, The Daily Northwestern

Source: Northwestern University library archives


Medill’s Direct Marketing program launches with Ted Spiegel’s guidance.

Ted Spiegel celebrates with Medill graduates

Source: Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications. 2017 copyright


Ted Spiegel, grandson of Joseph Spiegel, joins the Northwestern faculty.

Pulling on his experience in catalogue marketing and business strategy to help a wide range of clients from Walt Disney to the Reader’s Digest to the Library of Congress, Ted established a direct marketing concentration (a first in the nation) at Northwestern and was instrumental in shaping the IMC Curriculum during his 25 year faculty tenure.

"Ted Spiegel's enthusiasm for learning and teaching led to innovations that will influence not only the direction of IMC but larger parts of the University. He understood that new communications technologies were having an enormous impact on his field, and helped bring those technologies into the classroom." - Brian Nielsen

Medill's newest building, McCormick Tribune Center, houses journalism and integrated marketing communication students

Source: Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications. 2017 copyright


The Division of Integrated Advertising/Marketing Communications (later Integrated Marketing Communications) replaces all of Medill’s advertising programs. The new program focused on analysis of the entire customer experience and data analysis to answer the question, “Does advertising work?”

Founder of Amazon, Jeff Bezos

Source: Creative Commons CC By SA 3.0


Amazon launches as an online bookstore. With the advent of the web, e-commerce continually expands creating a wealth of digital database records of customer transactions and interactions, which make our kind of research increasingly important.

Screenshot of Twitter's original public homepage

Photo Source: screenshot obtained from MediaBistro

Screenshot of Facebook's original hompage

Photo Source: screenshot of original website obtained from Wikipedia

2004 & 2006

Facebook and Twitter are invented, dramatically expanding the ways customers engage with brands and creating more ways to capture and analyze customer interactions with brands.

Executive Director Tom Collinger and Ted Spiegel

Source: Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications. 2017 copyright


The Spiegel Research Initiative is founded by a generous gift from Ted and his wife Audrey with support from corporations, alumni, and friends. The focus of the center is to do evidence-based, data driven analysis to prove the relationship between customer engagement and purchase behavior.
Spiegel also launched its initial advisory board comprised of the following five members:

Jim Lecinski, former Vice President, U.S. Sales and Services at Google and currently an associate professor in the Integrated Marketing Communications program at Medill.

Jonathan Copulsky, former Chief Marketing Officer and Principal of Deloitte and also a lecturer in the IMC program at Medill.

Karin Giffney, former vice president of marketing for T-Mobile and currently President of the Two12 Group.

Nick Beil, former CEO of Performics, the search marketing agency of VivaKi and currently the COO of Narrative Science.

Paul Rand, Vice President of Communications at University of Chicago.

Source: Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications. 2017 copyright


Spiegel Research Initiative hires its first post-doctoral study student, Su Jung Kim

Research Studies and Presentations

Kim who partners with our research team social media contests and online negative word-of-mouth.

We publish academic articles and the first of many e-books on these topics, and our research is presented at a number academic conferences.

Ted Spiegel

Source: Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications. 2017 copyright


Ted Spiegel passes away. As late as two weeks prior to his passing, Ted discussed the center and research ideas with Executive Director Tom Collinger.

“Ted mentored many faculty members and students. Up until a few weeks ago, he was challenging the IMC faculty to improve teaching with the use of new technologies and teaching approaches. We will miss his vision for IMC education and research.” – Ed Malthouse, Research Director, Spiegel Research Center

Read Medill's tribute to Ted Spiegel >

Research Studies and Presentations

Research director Ed Malthouse and our post-doctoral study student Su Jung Kim present their findings on online negative word-of-mouth at Social Media week in Chicago

Executive Director Tom Collinger presents in front of 300 Fortune 500 CMOs at the Social Media.Org Brand’s Only Summit

Pictured left to right: Edward Malthouse, Audrey Spiegel, Tom Collinger

Source: Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications. 2017 copyright


Following additional gifts from Ted’s estate, the institute gains center status. We celebrated the history of the center in January, profiled its research, and remembered the Ted with a research presentation and reception in the McCormick Tribune Center.

Watch the presentation >

Research Studies and Presentations

We work with our inaugural group of five Spiegel Fellows, a group of Integrated Marketing Communications master’s students who partner with our research team on a client project.

We publish academic articles on negative word-of-mouth and an e-book on mobile apps.


The Spiegel Research Center undertakes several projects producing evidence explaining online ratings and their impact on revenue, loyalty programs, multi-platform engagement, social media contests and branded mobile apps. The center publishes academic papers and articles on these and delivered domestic and international presentations. See the full list of studies here.

Source: Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications. 2017 copyright


Audrey Spiegel passes away. As a Northwestern Alumni and wife of Ted Spiegel, the Spiegel Research Center honors her legacy. "She was generous and glamorous, a radiant personality with a wonderful sense of humor." -The Chicago Tribune

Source: Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications. 2017 copyright

The Spiegel Research Center’s Consumer Engagement Engine was developed as a product of the extensive consumer-centric work of the center. Spiegel also conducted in-depth research into media consumption trends.

Research Studies and Presentations

We publish an e-book and academic articles on multi-platform customer engagement and customer loyalty programs.

Source: Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications. 2017 copyright


The Spiegel Research Center published an e-book examining ROI of branded apps, another e-book on the power of customer reviews, and we researched the value of paid versus owned media.

We also published academic papers on these topics and presented our findings at academic conferences and conferences for marketing practitioners in partnership with our sponsor companies.

We grew our student collaboration working with 20 students across four different teams and were honored with the Education Award from Marketing EDGE for Educator of the Year for our student research approach.

We worked with ten Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) graduate students as student research fellows who presented their research findings in partnership with Deloitte on the topic “Does content engagement drive positive business outcomes?” Another group delivered their insights from work with PARCO, a Japanese mall operator on the question “What can retailers do to drive customer engagement and in-store purchasing?”

In addition to our graduate research fellows we partnered with another five IMC grad students on our Impact Marketing Team who created articles, our social media content, and infographics, and five undergraduate students on our Spiegel Media team who created an animation and interactive graph on paid versus owned media.

Source: Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications. 2017 copyright


In 2018 Spiegel Research Center published an e-book on retail marketing examining the question of how retailers and mall operators can best engage customers. The new e-book summarized the research conducted by our research team and the research project our student fellows worked on in 2017. We began the Spiegel Spotlight interview series that highlighted findings from our B2B marketing research in partnership with Deloitte and the creation of a “Customer Engagement Index.”

We have been publishing academic and marketing practitioner articles on B2B and retail marketing and presenting these topics to both academics and practitioners.

We continued our research with students and expanded our student teams working with fifteen graduate student research fellows on projects that we will present in the coming year. We also worked with five students our Spiegel Marketing Team to get the word out about our studies. We also began a partnerships with ShopRunner, an online ecommerce platform, and with the Local News Initiative, “a two year research and development project intended to spur experimentation to new approaches to local news.”