The Mystery Is Over, Poltrack Wins 2015 'Ephron' Award

CBS Chief Research Officer David Poltrack has won the ARF’s 2015 “Erwin Ephron Demystification Award.”

The award, which was named in honor of the late Erwin Ephron, a media-planning guru known for simplifying complex media planning and research theories, was announced today during the ARF’s annual Audience Measurement conference in New York City.

Poltrack is only the second recipient of the award, which was bestowed for the first time last year on Bill Harvey, a longtime media research and planning expert who created single-source media and marketing measurement service TRA, which was acquired by TiVo.

Poltrack, who has also been a big proponent of single-source and other forms of measurement that correlate media exposure to product purchasing and other outcomes, was an early supporter of a number of the industry’s most ambitious attempts to close that gap, including ScanAmerica, Project Apollo and more recently, Nielsen Catalina Solutions.

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He also built one of the most highly regarded consumer media research testing facilities: CBS Television City in Las Vegas.

“David truly exemplifies the Erwin Ephron Demystification Award criteria,” ARF CEO and President Gayle Fuguitt stated, adding, “He is consistently challenging conventional thinking by embracing analytics and technology, promoting proactive debate, and translating ideas into action. Through these actions, David has earned the respect of the C-Suite, his peers and the next generation.”

7 comments about "The Mystery Is Over, Poltrack Wins 2015 'Ephron' Award".
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  1. Jack Wakshlag from Media Strategy, Research & Analytics, June 15, 2015 at 7:25 p.m.

    A well deserved honor. Congratulations. 

  2. John Grono from GAP Research, June 15, 2015 at 9 p.m.

    Congratulations from DownUnder.

  3. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, June 16, 2015 at 7:53 a.m.

    Second and third that. Congrats Dave.

  4. Tommy Crawford from Jupiter Research, June 16, 2015 at 2:51 p.m.

    Congratulations and well deserved.

  5. Shari anne Brill from Shari Anne Brill Media Consulting, June 16, 2015 at 3:51 p.m.

    Congratulations Dave! Well-deserved recognition.

  6. Nicholas Schiavone from Nicholas P. Schiavone, LLC, June 16, 2015 at 10:54 p.m.

    Lord Kelvin: “If you can measure a thing then you know something of it.” 

    One of Art Nielsen's favorite quotes was from Lord Kelvin.  It was also one of Erwin Ephron's favorite aphorisms.  David Poltrack has earned the 2015 Erwin Ephron Award in a way no one else could have done over the last 79 years with the exception of a few ARF Pioneers like the distinguished Paul Gerhold or Rena Bartos.

    Dave Morgan articulatelty explained the importance of Erwin Ephron in MediaPost last year, 2014:  

    "In 'Media Planning,' Erwin Ephron asked (and answered) the questions at the root of advertising and its future perspective: How does advertising work? Why does media selection seem so irrational? Why does recency work? Why does reach always trump frequency? Why are current media measurement models so problematic? And my personal favorite: Why is media planning a conspiracy?"

    The same can be said of David Poltrack.  He has earned the Erwin Ephron Award in a manner that others could not possibly do because he has a body of extraordinary work and outstanding leadership to show for his career, which strikes me to be more of a vocation and a calling.  And he answered the call so very, very well!

    And let us also not overlook David's contributions to the classroom.  Numerous fortunate students have benefitted from his great knowledge and unique experience!  While the Award is referred to as a Demystification Award, the truth is that Erwin and David removed the mystery and put common sense and wisdom in the place of research nonsense and measurement illusions.

    I am proud to call David a Friend and thankful that I can say "Congratulations."  
    And "Well done!"  You are an inspiration to an Industry...past, present and future!

    Sincerely,
    Nick
    Nicholas P. Schiavone






  7. Nicholas Schiavone from Nicholas P. Schiavone, LLC, June 18, 2015 at 3:18 p.m.

    One week ago, MediaDailyNews readers were told that there would be a "MEASUREMENT MANDATE AT UPCOMING ARF EVENT."  The "must-attend" ARF Meeting has concluded. Yet, there is no public word of a measurement mandate for those who could not attend (like the people who employ researchers).  Perhaps, there is a mandate and journalists have failed to report it.


    On the other hand, I suspect we're back to business as usual.  For example, it seems Nielsen continues to press for sample expansion (NPX) using a method that machines the viewing data (models & fabricates audience estimates) as opposed to tabulates them (counts audience through recording persons viewing in [NPM] metered panel homes within a statistically appropriate probability sample).


    There are other imperative matters of video & digital audience measurement that deserve intense & extensive assessment from a media research perspective.  There are also crucial issues related to the most essential question of how advertising works in 2015 and what constitutes appropriate measures of ROI for enormous advertising & marketing expenditures. There too: No word of an advertising research mandate!


    Even so, today we see news in MediaDailyNews of an ANA Mandate: "The Association of National Advertisers has issued an RFP for an "Industry-Wide Media Transparency Study." ... It is the ANA's belief that the industry requires an independent, objective individual or organization to provide indisputable marketplace clarity and to help set the record straight."


    While advertising allusions can be insufferable, I'm inclined to recall the iconic question of Clara Peller.  Clara would indignantly ask over & over "Where's the beef?"


    If the best thing to come out of this ARF Meeting was the Ephron Award presented to David Poltrack, the long-time CBS Dean of Research, perhaps that's enough.  In David Poltrack you "See the Sermon," whereas at ARF Conferences you mostly "Say the Sermon."  Poltrack's work is testament to what intelligent, imaginative, enlightened, disciplined, principle-based and goal-driven work can produce in the realm of working knowledge.  Congratulations, David.  Well done!


    In the meantime, "Enquiring Minds Want to Know"  Where's the Mandate?

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