A. Eicoff & Company
|Industry||Marketing and Advertising|
|Headquarters||401 North Michigan Ave., Chicago, Illinois, United States|
|Parent||The Ogilvy Group, Inc.|
A. Eicoff & Company is one of the top ten advertising agencies in Chicago. It specializes in direct response television (DRTV) advertising. It is known as the firm that popularized 1-800 call numbers and claims to have coined the “… or your money back” catchphrase.
A. Eicoff & Company is based in Chicago, Illinois. Alvin Eicoff, the father of DRTV advertising, founded A. Eicoff & Company in 1959. Today, the company is led by CEO William McCabe and employs 120 people.
Alvin Eicoff, the father of DRTV advertising, founded A. Eicoff & Company in 1959. The agency specialized in direct-response advertising, featuring 60-second to two minute spots with calls to action for viewers. In 1977, AT&T approached A. Eicoff & Company to use 1-800 numbers in its commercials. The 1-800-number model made it possible for advertisers to use the same ad spot nationwide with a centralized call center. The company also claims to have coined the famous “…or your money back!” guarantee at the end of commercials.
In the late 1970s, A. Eicoff & Company launched the world’s first infomercial. The spot was a 30-minute product demonstration for New Generation, a hair product to reverse baldness. In 1981, A. Eicoff & Company’s client Time-Life became the first national direct-response advertiser in cable history. In January 1982, Ron Bliwas took over as the company’s president and CEO. Later that year, Ogilvy & Mather acquired the company and marked a switch in the agency’s focus. In the Chicago Tribune, Bliwas said, “When I became the CEO, I really changed the direction of the agency… we were not going to do slicers and dicers and records. We were going to try to attract Fortune 500 companies.”
In March 2012, Bliwas stepped down. He had been with A. Eicoff & Co. for 37 years and had served as its head for 27 years. He continues to serve as Acting Chairman. William McCabe, who specializes in digital media, took over from Bliwas. McCabe previously served as the company’s Executive Vice President and COO.
Alvin Eicoff (1921 - 2002) is widely regarded as the father of late-night, direct response advertising. His approach was based on product demonstrations and a prominently featured phone number for orders. Eicoff’s ads became the model for modern infomercials. Eicoff started his career in the radio advertising industry. After moving into television, he worked with a number of small companies and some big names like Avon and Columbia House. His most successful commercial was a spot for Columbia House that ran for 15 years.
Eicoff advocated the 120-second commercial with a 30-second tag line and a phone number. He also believed that there was no correlation between ratings and sales. Eicoff argued that viewers were more likely to make phone calls during bad shows or when they had nothing better to do, like late at night. In 1982, Eicoff wrote a guide to successful advertising that was published by Crown. The book was titled “…or Your Money Back,” the famous phrase that Eicoff coined and included at the end of every commercial.
A. Eicoff & Company specializes in DRTV and DRTV hybrid advertising. The company offers solutions for every step of the commercial process, from creative to media to analytics. It also offers solutions for emerging media.
In 1996, the company developed CoreDirect. CoreDirect is a results tracking and management tool that offers a complete snapshot of a commercial’s performance, including costs, clearance and response. Clients have access to CoreDirect from their campaign dashboards.
Awards and recognition
In 2004, the DMA created the A. Eicoff Broadcast Innovation Award, an annual ECHO award to recognize innovation in direct broadcast media. The DMA Broadcast Council and the ECHO Committee choose each year’s awardee from the Gold, Silver and Bronze winners.
In 2005, A. Eicoff & Company’s then-chairman Ron Bliwas became the DMA’s Chairman of the Board. In 2007, he was inducted into the DMA’s Hall of Fame.
- "2007 DMA Hall of Fame to Honor Ronald Bliwas and Charles Morgan; Induction Set for Oct. 16 During DMA 07". Direct Marketing Association. August 22, 2007. Retrieved December 6, 2012.
- "The DMA Hall of Fame". Direct Marketing Association. Retrieved December 6, 2012.
- "Company Profile: A Eicoff & CO". Manta. Retrieved December 6, 2012.
- "Leader in Direct Response TV Advertising, A. Eicoff & Company, Names Bill McCabe President and CEO". Marketwire. March 1, 2012. Retrieved December 6, 2012.
- "No one does TV like us". A. Eicoff & Company. Retrieved December 6, 2012.
- Channick, Robert (March 1, 2012). "TV advertising veteran stepping down". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved December 6, 2012.
- Lavietes, Stuart (March 9, 2002). "Alvin Eicoff, Innovator in Late-Night TV Ads, Dies at 80". New York Times. Retrieved December 6, 2012.
- "Ronald L. Bliwas: Executive Profile & Biography". BusinessWeek. Retrieved December 6, 2012.
- "A. Eicoff & Company Company Profile". Yahoo! Finance. Retrieved December 6, 2012.
- "A. Eicoff, 80; Ad Exec Created Infomercials". Los Angeles Times. March 11, 2002. Retrieved December 6, 2012.
- "A. Eicoff Broadcast Innovation Award". Direct Marketing Association - International Echo Awards. Retrieved December 7, 2012.