The Advertising Research Foundation Tuesday unveiled a new awards program to commemorate influential industry consultant Erwin Ephron, who died Oct. 13, after decades of influencing the way advertisers, agencies and media thought about research and planning.
Details of the annual awards program will be unveiled at the ARF’s annual Re:think conference in March 2014, but ARF CEO and President Gayle Fuguitt said it would be “inspired by a little bit of lightness,” in recognition of Ephron’s own witty demeanor. In that spirit, she said, the awards have been named the Erwin Ephron Demystification Award, and will be presented annually in his memory.
Following the announcement, which came at the end of the ARF’s Business Leadership Forum in New York Tuesday morning, the foundation showed a short film paying tribute to Ephron’s passion for demystifying the complexities of the advertising and media research business including many of his trademark one-liners (“There’s no truth here. There are only better and worse measurements.” “Different media do different things. That’s why we use them.” Etc.).
Scott McDonald, senior vice president-research and insights at Conde Nast Publications, and a long-time friend of Ephron’s, presented a heartfelt tribute to Ephron, noting that for all the wit and brevity of his writing and public speaking, that he actually worked tirelessly to refine the way he communicated his ideas about media, and that it didn’t necessarily come easy to him.
But in the end, McDonald said it was Ephron’s approach to “simple storytelling” and his “gift for demystifying complex ideas” that likely was his greatest contribution to the advertising and media industry.“In a world where everyone else is selling something, and you don’t know who to listen to, Erwin was selling wisdom,” McDonald said.