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!

A Winter For the Record Books

By: Tara Anbudaiyan

snowy day tvI know, I know – enough about our endless winter. But as Q1 comes to a close, it is important to recognize the unique winter events of 2014 and how they may, or may not, have impacted your TV advertising campaigns.

The Polar Vortex(es) (yes, plural) closed schools, businesses…even our Federal government. This forced many people inside and in front of their screens. According to Nielsen, Americans spent almost 30 minutes longer surfing entertainment websites in January compared to the monthly average. There was an uptick in daytime television viewers as well with daytime soap operas experiencing record ratings during these wintery weeks.

Blizzards and deep freezes weren’t the only surprises this winter. Despite a lackluster game, SuperBowl XLVIII ranked as the most-watched U.S. TV telecast of all time. Then there were the first all-live Winter Games in Sochi which dominated NBCUniversal’s TV ratings across day parts on, despite lower viewership than past Winter Olympics.

While no one can predict events like these, advertisers with DRTV in their mix can monitor data on a weekly, even daily basis. This gives them the agility to adjust their media buy on the fly to take advantage of shifts in viewership. 

So, as you develop your media plan for the rest of the year, consider including tactics that can help you weather the storm when the unexpected happens. Because it does.

Tara Anbudaiyan is VP, Account Services at A. Eicoff & Co., one of North America's largest DRTV agencies.


Posted In: DRTV Media

DRTV? Step Up To the Podium, Please.

By: Audrey Neems and Rob Schmidt

bobsled drtvNow that the Winter Olympics are well over and we’ve all returned to our regularly scheduled TV watching, it’s time to reflect on those mighty games.

How superhuman those athletes were! How dedicated! How composed and brave – not only before and during their death-defying performances, but as they awaited the scores that would determine their standings, value and medal-worthiness.

Obviously, we’re not athletes (well maybe some of us are), but we’re DRTV people. And while our limbs are never at risk, we know the importance of good scores. The judging starts the day a commercial goes on the air. Analytics kick in. Numbers are tallied. If we make the numbers, we’re successful. If not, we’re off the air. No gold, silver or bronze.

Our counterparts in the brand world may bask in the glow of their McDonald’s, BMW or AT&T spot running countless times over the Olympics, but did they score? Did they win? Can they head for the podium and know with certainty that they succeeded in a measurable way? Maybe, maybe not. That’s where DRTV has the advantage. 

Competing for the minds and wallets of consumers takes skill, strategy and accuracy.  With the data we receive each day, we’re able to shave off costs per lead and sale, the way a bobsled team shaves off hundredths of a second.  The time we save by optimizing our DRTV campaigns can add millions of dollars to our clients’ bottom line. 

Though it’s not an Olympic challenge, sometimes it takes courage to introduce DRTV to your marketing mix. But the results could give you the edge you need to beat the competition. And that’s worth its weight in gold.

Audrey Neems is a Creative Director and Rob Schmidt is a Management Supervisor at A. Eicoff & Co., one of North America's largest DRTV agencies.



Being a Technologist In a Creative Business

By: Joe McEvoy

creativetechBeing a technologist in a business that's all about creativity and relationships can be challenging at times. As social media, mobile technology and analytics play a more important role in DRTV than ever before, I find myself defending the tech world.

As technology evolves, we’re going to see greater acceptance and use of all the tools at our disposal. As a technologist, I love to talk with people about what’s ahead and how the next new thing will make bold new creative approaches possible and will allow media buys to be that much more accurate. We are using collaboration tools like WireDrive and FuzeBox that are changing the way we communicate internally and with external stakeholders. We are learning how to integrate DRTV with social media with mobile technology with web sites, and as we get better at it, we will generate better results and create even more satisfied customers.

It wasn’t that long ago that only the tech people in agencies and at their clients were using social media. Now, everyone is online all the time sifting through the vast amounts of information available and trying to figure out how to use it to improve the advertising.

It is a challenge for all of us, but especially for those of us in IT. We’re focused on trying to keep up with the current infrastructure to keep all our existing technology running smoothly, and so we don’t always have the time we need to test new ideas and approaches. But things are changing and businesses of all types are expanding the role of IT to capitalize on the advances taking place. In the coming years, you are going to see IT taking a more active role in every business function, addressing all the problems and opportunities that arise.

In the creative business, the pace of tech change is fast. If we fail to understand the current needs and challenges of our business and just work to maintain status quo, we’ll sink fast. We need to be hyper-alert to every device and trend as they emerge and figure out ways to use them—or adapt them for use—to our agency’s and clients’ needs. 

More than ever, technology is advertising’s friend. So, go hug your IT guy and have a sit down to discuss the latest and greatest thing you just heard about. Just make sure he’s had his low-tech coffee first!

Joe McEvoy is IT Director at A. Eicoff & Co., one of North America's largest DRTV agencies.

The Most Impressive New Gadget at the CES? The…Television.

By: Francie Gordon

CES TV GadgetsThe 2014 CES definitely proved there’s no one way to view content: Sony’s Short Range 4K projector, the Samsung Galaxy Note Pro tablet, LG’s Curved TV and more.

But guess what –TV, in any form, is still king.

That, according to a panel of agency experts at the Consumer Electronics Show in Vegas.  

People still watch more than four hours of live TV a day on average. Even Millennials – can you believe it?

Of course, it makes sense that advertisers are shifting some ad dollars from TV to digital. There’s lots of potential around second screen and streaming video.

But digital by itself can’t touch the reach of TV. Even internet companies cannot live by online alone: successful companies like Quicken Loans, GoDaddy and Priceline turn to television to drive traffic and grow their business.

TV works – whether it’s brand advertising or direct response (DRTV), and whether it’s through a 4K projection on a wall or a bendable screen.

As TV viewing options continue to grow, clients and agencies alike need to strike a balance between the latest media technologies and their responsibility to the client’s business.

Francie Gordon is SVP/Executive Media Director at A. Eicoff & Co., one of North America’s largest DRTV agencies. 

Soup Fundraiser


Last Thursday, our own Eicoff Volunteer Corp hosted Soup Day!

Simmering Crock Pots were loaded with Iron Chef-worthy soups like Pea Soup with Bacon Foam, and a scrumdillyicious Chocolate Soup.

 After the blind, taste test votes were counted, Alicia William’s Beef Vegetable Soup was declared the winner. And a special thanks to our homemade bread bakers (soup's favorite accessory) - Joy Woods, Mike Powell and Delia Marshall!

The lunchtime event raised over $1700 for the Ronald McDonald House, and donations of packaged and canned foods for the Greater Chicago Food Depository.

Posted In: Eye on Eicoff