“Get in the Game!”

by Lauren Farris, Beth Fritz and Shelby Meadows

The Importance of Reaching the Fastest Growing Consumer Group in the Country

Forget football, it's futbol! The 2014 World Cup not only broke TV ratings records but also shattered social media records. With 35.6 million tweets during the Brazil vs. Germany semi-final match, it surpassed the number of Super Bowl 2014 tweets by a staggering 10 million. 

For major brand advertisers, the World Cup following was no surprise.  They have been targeting the lucrative Hispanic market since the 2010 U.S. Census revealed the changing landscape of the U.S. population.  Today, it’s no secret that Hispanics comprise the fastest growing consumer group in the country.  For those not in the know, the Hispanic population increased by 15.2 million between 2000 and 2010 and accounted for more than half of the total U.S. population increase of 27.3 million. Additionally, between 2000 and 2010, the Hispanic population grew by 43 percent, or four times the nation's 9.7 percent growth rate. And it doesn’t stop there….

However, what remains a surprise, and a very large one at that, is the number of direct response advertisers who do not invest in this powerhouse demographic. The Hispanic direct response marketplace is rapidly growing and is increasingly more responsive than the general market.  Yet there remains a reluctance to dive in and implement strategies to reach this game-changing demo.  Are you advertising to the one key demo that will grow your business more quickly than the competition may even believe possible?  If not, the time to get into the game is NOW. 


Posted In: DRTV Media

Clutterfest 2014: TV Commercials Per Hour Keep Growing

By: Gary Lande

information overload

Y’know that feeling you get in theatres when they show 16 previews in a row? Restless everything syndrome? You’re probably feeling it during your favorite programs.

You’re not alone. According to Nielsen, the time allotted for TV commercials is on the rise.

And not just more time, more 15-second spots. In 2009, 15-second spots accounted for 35% of all ads on TV. In 2013, they’re on 44% of the time.

So how does a client cut through a messy little pod of 5, 6 or even 8 commercials? One way is longer spots: one and two-minute commercials. Something Direct Response TV (DRTV) does very well.

Do the math. A two-minute spot takes up a whole lot more real estate. Fewer commercials mean your spot has a far better chance of standing out. A two-minute spot might even own the entire commercial break.

Not to mention the benefits of longer format spots – compelling presentation of your product or service, more information and detail, and the ability to measure calls, orders or visits to your website.

An efficiently produced, smartly placed two-minute spot can break through the clutter and add some serious muscle to your marketing mix.

Gary Lande is VP/Creative Director at A. Eicoff & Co., one of North America’s largest DRTV agencies. 


Posted In: DRTV Media

Eicoff Brings "Can Do" to Chicago's City Farm

By: Tara Anbudaiyan

City Farm Collage
Eicoff returned to City Farm for it's second year supporting Chicago's “City in a Garden." The urban-farming initiative transforms vacant land into productive farmland, which translates into jobs, green space and fresh produce for the city.
We learned about the new beekeeping efforts and how Chicago restaurants like Alinea, Frontera Grill, the Signature Room and many more partner with City Farm to bring fresh, organic produce to patrons.
Despite the threat of rain, Eicoff stepped up it's efforts this year with double the volunteers. The many rows of carrots and lettuce are now free and clear of weeds thanks to the team.
Posted In: Eye on Eicoff

Great commercial. What was it for?

By: Ken Houdek

puzzled look

Being in the DRTV media industry gives me a unique perspective when people start discussing commercials they enjoyed seeing on television.

Many times they say how funny or clever a commercial was. And I always ask, "what was the product being advertised?"

Nine out of ten times I get blank, thinking stares.  Then they’ll say, " I don’t remember, but I think it was for some company…”

That just kills me.  It hurts every bone in my body.

Some client paid good money for that commercial. They paid good money for the media placement. And the outcome is they entertained viewers. And that was about it.

Cue the age-old debate: how much steak and how much sizzle? The “sizzlers” argue entertainment sells; you feel good about the product, you’re more likely to buy. The “steakers” believe information is king. Tell ‘em, tell ‘em and tell ‘em again.

Can’t we all just get along?

Obviously, advertising clutter is the norm and eyeballs are being assaulted and fought over at every turn. So yes, you have to cut through and engage. Big time.

But you can never forget the importance of effective, efficient communication.

It comes down to finding the balance between entertaining and selling. At the end of the day, viewers need to know what the product is, the benefits they offer, and what they can do to buy it – call, go online, go to the store, etc. If your commercial isn’t making these key points clear to your target, why run it at all?

Ken Houdek is a SVP/Associate Media Director at A. Eicoff & Co., one of North America’s largest DRTV agencies. 

TV: Searching for Higher Definition

By: Jim Madsen

tv showsPerhaps the biggest and most confusing word in today’s media landscape is "TV." As the industry continues to evolve, the term TV becomes more fractured into separate species – broadcast, cable, connected, streaming, social, etc.

Yet news and blog writers, myself included, continue to use TV as the catchall for everything related to the industry. But (there had to be a “but”), this oversimplification is generating a collective confusion in our headlines:

"Is TV Dead?" – AOL ad on the cover Adweek

“The Problem With Web Videos Is That TV Is Really Big Still” – The Wall Street Journal

“TV Is Dead. Now What?” – Politico

“TV, Not Digital, Propels Madison Avenue Spending” – MediaPost

Mixed signals anyone? Here's the reality. TV is now the ultimate cord-cutter and no longer bound by platform, time or place. So writers, for the sake of your readers (and mine), let's embrace a truer definition: TV is now the content itself – The Good Wife, Game of Thrones, Monday Night Football, Dancing with the Stars, The Price is Right – the programs and broadcasts we watch live, record, download, stream, or buy on DVD (have I forgotten any?)

In summary, what we watch is the content itself – our favorite TV shows. When and where we watch it is on TV sets, laptops, smartphones and tablets. How our content is delivered is through broadcast TV, cable TV, and streaming platforms like Netflix, Hulu and Apple TV.

As long as there's a steady stream of new, quality content and people to watch it, the avenues to consume it will continue to expand, evolve and be newsworthy. And you can be sure advertisers will be invited to the party (hey, these shows don't pay for themselves). And as we write about it, let’s make sure we give our readers the clearest picture possible.

Jim Madsen is a Copywriter at A. Eicoff & Co., one of North America's largest DRTV agencies. 

Eicoff Runs in JP Morgan Corporate Challenge

Team Eicoff 2014

Last week Team Eicoff participated in Chicago's JP Morgan Corporate Challenge. The evening was a sold-out crowd of 25,192 entrants from 594 companies. The event benefited Get In Chicago, which provides mentoring, cognitive/behavioral therapy and parent leadership services to at-risk youth and their families in Chicago. 

Thanks to the Eicoff Volunteer Corp for organizing our team. And a special thanks to Maura Foley, analyst and team t-shirt design contest winner. Gorgeous weather, a great cause and immediate measurable results made it a picture perfect evening for Team Eicoff.

What if Brands Combined 140 Characters with 120 Seconds of Video?


Posted In: DRTV Creative

Those Missing 3 Minutes

By: Mike Powell

3 minutesThis just in from e-marketer4:28

The amount of time in hours and minutes that U.S. adults are expected to spend watching TV each day in 2014. That figure is down 3 minutes from 2013, but is still more time than is spent with any other single medium.

Things that take three minutes:   

  • Thorough brushing and flossing
  • Finding the dang keys
  • Trying to remember that dang password
  • Watching the pot boil
  • On hold
  • Updating mobile apps
  • Drop off dry cleaning
  • Toenail grooming
  • View cat video from your mom
  • Scan daily coupon email
  • Read Eicoff blog post

For advertisers who rely on television concerned over the much-ballyhooed demise of television: looks like we're good for 2014.

Mike Powell is the SVP/Executive Creative Director at A. Eicoff & Co., one of North America’s largest DRTV agencies.   



Posted In: DRTV News

3 Ways to a Good Idea

By: Tim Burke

idea faucet

In any form of advertising, including DRTV, a great piece of work always begins with a great idea. That’s why at Eicoff the beginning phase of a project is so important. It’s at this time that the foundation of our TV commercial and its core message will be built.

This early stage is also really fun to watch. Creative teams fight the fight to find those really big ideas. Sometimes their first thought rules the day. Sometimes they struggle mightily. And other times, the ideas just won’t stop coming.

That’s why it’s not only interesting, but vital in our occupational field to think, “How can we put ourselves in the best place to find ideas?” So in today’s blog, I’ll review 3 different thoughts that can help you, me and anyone else generate good ideas.


Yes, that’s right. It’s common for people to have big ideas pop into their heads while doing brain-dead things, like taking a shower, going for a stroll or laying in bed. And, there’s a scientific reason for this. When your brain relaxes, it can begin to daydream, open up and let all of those wonderful thoughts come together. If your brain is roaming, instead of focusing, it’s actually super active and thus a ripe condition for an “a-ha” moment. If you’re in search of an idea, feel free to take a walk, go for swim, stare at the ceiling, linger in the shower, get a massage or doodle away.


In his book, Where Good Ideas Come From, Steven Johnson details out in great length how many historically significant innovations were spawned by several ideas coming together. From the first coffee houses of England to modern innovation labs, when people and their ideas mingle, big things can happen. As a creative person, you’re much better off exposing yourself to the world around you, sharing with others and looking for things that may create a spark. That’s why it’s important for us not to work in a vacuum. So go ahead, have lunch with your mad scientist friend, explore a museum, learn a new skill, read a totally different style of writing, flip through a magazine, listen to the Blues or click on today’s funniest Youtube video. It’s okay. You are on a collision course to a good idea.


Filmmaker Kirby Ferguson has a terrific four-part series called Everything Is A Remix in which he explores how many brilliant creators and artists weren’t as “original” as we all may think. He shows how in Star Wars George Lucas borrowed everything from the opening titles to the severing of a limb from earlier movies. He also demonstrates how legends like Led Zeppelin and Bob Dylan clearly copied and adapted the music of others. In advertising you obviously don’t want to look like another brand, but if you can take an existing idea, visual look or writing style and remix it into something totally fresh, go for it. As Kirby points out, just look at Hollywood where 74 of the 100 best selling films in the last decade are sequels, re-makes and adaptations of books, comics or video games. When writing for a funny character in your TV commercial, think about how your favorite comedian, or your hilarious Uncle Pete, might speak. When looking for a cool visual, look at other cool visuals. Hoard as many ideas as you can. The larger the collection of ideas you have, the better you’ll be able to adapt, transform and create something wonderful.

Whether you make television commercials for a living or not, coming up with big ideas is a valuable skill. And while certain brains are simply better at it, the reality is that the proper environment and your method of working can make a huge difference. And of course, if all else is fails, I suggest pouring yourself 2 pints of Guinness. One to drink. And one to stare into until an idea surfaces.

Tim Burke is a Group Creative Director at A. Eicoff & Co., one of North America's largest DRTV agencies.

Posted In: DRTV Creative

Eicoff Volunteer Corp Packages Over 5 Tons of Food

Eicoff Volunteer Corp Greater Chicago Food DepositoryLast week, the Eicoff Volunteer Corp paid another visit to the Greater Chicago Food Depository – a nonprofit impacting lives by providing food for the hungry and offering programs to address the root causes of hunger. 

The team of 40 donned their aprons, gloves and hairnets, and packaged over 8,000 pounds of pears and 4,000 pounds of apples – exceeding the Food Depository’s goals for the day. 

Thanks to everyone who came out!