Nielsen Celebrates Chicago Roots with 90th Anniversary Party

By any measure, Nielsen scored big with a 90th birthday party that was equal parts tribute and triumph for its role in understanding the modern consumer in a way never before possible.

More than 300 guests gathered at the River East Art Center in Chicago for an enjoyable and memorable evening dedicated to Arthur C. Nielsen, Sr. and his vision that has propelled the company through the better part of a century of innovation.

Nielsen vice chair Susan Whiting and President, Americas John Lewis

Starting with a mere $45,000 investment and his passion for understanding consumers, Arthur C. Nielsen founded Nielsen in Chicago on August 24, 1923 as a statistical analysis consulting company that soon developed an entirely new lens and lexicon to define consumers.

Not only was Nielsen the first company to offer market research –it also coined the business term "market share,” a metric used to give a general idea of the size of a company to its market and competitors.

Nielsen president of the Americas John Lewis, Arthur C. Nielsen, III and his family, Nielsen vice chair Susan Whiting

And, of course, there’s the veritable Nielsen rating, a currency first measuring radio and television audience size that today informs what the world is watching, reading, playing, browsing, buying and more.

Nielsen’s rise and staying power over the years reflects an explosion in media outlets, big data analytics, and the rise of ethnic and cultural influence and spending power.  Consider:

  • Today Nielsen captures and analyzes real-life conversation online across 235 of the most popular U.S. television channels.
  • More than 400 billion retail product transactions are measured by Nielsen across more than 600,000 stores globally.
  • Nielsen tracks and uncovers in-depth insights about the unique purchasing power of ethnic communities, noting that by the end of the decade there will be 170 million ethnic consumers in the U.S., with African Americans and Hispanics having projected buying power of $1.1 trillion and $1.5 trillion respectively by 2015.

Nielsen’s 90th anniversary party brought together local media personalities, politicians, business leaders, and members of the Nielsen family for an evening to remember.


Nielsen Senior Vice President of Public Affairs and Government Relations Cheryl Pearson-McNeil

“Your longevity is surely a testament to the quality of services you provide and the relationships you have developed over the years,” stated Governor Pat Quinn via proclamation marking the 90th anniversary of Nielsen.  “To celebrate an anniversary such as this is a significant milestone for any organization.”

Congressman Danny Davis

The evening’s entertainment reflected Chicago’s diverse offerings including traditional Chinese dragon dancers from Chinatown, Second City standup comedy, and the Latin Street Dancers.   The evening was infused with star power via video birthday greetings from an array of personalities including Howard Stern, Steve Harvey, George Takei, Cristina Saralegui, and Mario Lopez.

Nielsen president of the Americas John Lewis, City Clerk Susana Mendoza, David Szostak, and Nielsen Senior Vice President of Public Affairs and Government Relations Cheryl Pearson-McNeil

Other parts of the evening spotlighted Nielsen’s commitment to more than 200 causes and organizations that impact change and create movement in the areas of hunger reduction, cultural diversity, civic engagement, and educational opportunities.

On the educational front, Nielsen focuses on the educational pillars of entrepreneurism, science, technology, engineering and math – while the A.C. Nielsen family’s donation to UW-Madison provides the nation’s only full-time MBA program specializing in market research.

Commissioner at Department of Family and Support Services City of Chicago Evelyn Diaz, Nielsen president of the Americas John Lewis and Nielsen vice chair Susan Whiting

Nielsen president of the Americas John Lewis, Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White, Arthur C. Nielsen, III and his family, Nielsen vice chair Susan Whiting

Photos courtesy of Ven Sherrod.

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