Eicoff, Alvin M(aurey) 1921-2002
EICOFF, Alvin M(aurey) 1921-2002
OBITUARY NOTICE—See index for CA sketch: Born June 8, 1921, in Lewistown, MT; died of congestive heart failure March 2, 2002, in Highland Beach, FL. Advertising executive and author. Eicoff is often credited as the creator of the television "infomercial" and other advertising innovations. After attending Stanford University and receiving his bachelor's degree from the University of Texas in 1943, Eicoff began his career in marketing as a radio advertiser, promoting such products as rat poison and fly spray. He then moved on to television in the late 1940s and 1950s while working as an executive for such firms as Grant Co. and Marfree Advertising. In 1962 he became president of Gottschalk & Eicoff, moving on to Wolf, Krautter & Eicoff from 1964 to 1966 before founding his own company, A. Eicoff & Co., that year. Eicoff's theories about advertising proved both unconventional and effective. For example, he worked with telephone company AT&T to establish the toll-free 1-800 system so that customers would be more likely to call in orders. He also believed that consumers are more susceptible to product advertising late at night, thus creating the lengthy infomercial, and declared that advertising during major television events such as the Super Bowl is a waste of time because viewers are more interested in the program than in commercials. Named one of the most important television advertising figures in history by Advertising Age in 1995, Eicoff explained his advertising philosophy in the books Or Your Money Back: Eicoff on Broadcast Direct Marketing and Direct Marketing through Broadcast Media: TV, Radio, Cable, Infomercials, Home Shopping, and More. He served as president of Eicoff & Co. until the firm was purchased by Ogilvy & Mather in 1981. Among other honors, he was named to the Direct Marketing Hall of Fame in 1997.
OBITUARIES AND OTHER SOURCES:
Who's Who in the World, 17th edition, Marquis (Providence, NJ), 2000.
Chicago Tribune, March 5, 2002, section 2, p. 7.
Los Angeles Times, March 11, 2002, p. B9.
New York Times, March 9, 2002, p. A14.
Washington Post, March 10, 2002, p. C5.