Offline Gurus - Alvin Eicoff
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Alvin Eicoff was a diehard advertising activist. Alvin was the first to use recreational mediums like television and radio for advertising products and services. He started direct response advertising on television in early fifties. Most of his pioneering efforts took form of long advertising formats, which was new then. To this day, such long advertisements or info commercials are popular. The credit of devising and implementing such different advertising strategies goes to Alvin Eicoff.
Although Alvin Eicoff was an accounting graduate, he developed deep interest in marketing of goods. He was intelligent and had an entrepreneurial bent of mind. All these qualities culminated in Alvin founding A. Eicoff & Company in Chicago in 1965. Now, his company functions as a subsidiary to Ogilvy & Mather and its parent group- WPP. Alvin remained the Chairman of his company until his last.
Alvin Eicoff’s main aim was to connect to consumers, right in their houses. Company developed direct response ads and info commercials depicting products of reputed brands like IBM, Sears, Novartis, Allstate, etc. Alvin stresses on first focusing on problem, explaining solution and then pinpointing how specific product satisfies solution need. He was particular about initial audio and visual parts of a commercial focusing on relevant problem accurately but briefly. Alvin wanted consumer to identify with the problem strongly. This helped potential consumer to relate to utility of the product and hence, purchase to solve his problem.
Alvin Eicoff advocated direct response advertising to create better brand awareness among manufacturers and retailers. Additionally, it offers substantial retailer support. After some time, Alvin used phrase ‘or your money back’ to lure customers to try product. Alvin was a passionate author of his book- Or Your Money Back. He was committed to education and set up Alvin and Helene Eicoff Endowed Professorship in Direct Broadcast Marketing and Eicoff Endowed Presidential Scholarship Fund.
Alvin Eicoff was a guest lecturer in Marketing. His accomplishments paved way for many honors like election to McCombs School Hall of Fame and Direct Marketing Hall of Fame. He was among fifty most influential persons in advertising in the twentieth century by Advertising Age.
Mr. Alvin Eicoff passed away on March 2, 2002, in Florida.
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