DRTV vet Ron Bliwas steps down from CEO role at A. Eicoff & Co.

Ron Bliwas has handed over the reigns after 32 years as CEO of DRTV agency A. Eicoff & Company, the company said on March 1. Longtime employee Bill McCabe will succeed him in the role, becoming the company’s third leader in its 57-year history.

Bliwas will now serve as acting chair of the A. Eicoff, a division of Ogilvy & Mather, where he will continue to offer support and assistance to the agency.

A member of the Direct Marketing Association’s Hall of Fame and former chairman of the DMA board, Bliwas helped guide the company to its current position as the largest DRTV agency in the country. He was instrumental in the acquisition of Eicoff & Co. by Ogilvy & Mather in 1982.

Bliwas also emphasized that the company’s success in attracting top clients was helped by his decision to avoid infomercials and what he calls “slicers and dicers.”

“You can’t attract the kind of clients that we have — the Met Lifes and the New York Lifes and the United Health Groups — if you’re dealing with the grapefruit diet and the abdominizer and all those things,” Bliwas said.

McCabe himself has been with A. Eicoff for 27 years, most recently serving as EVP and COO, during which time he worked with such clients Quicken Loans, AARP and Genworth Financial.

McCabe takes on the role at a time when the DRTV landscape is changing dramatically, with online and mobile video competing for viewer attention. However, McCabe described the growth of online as having created new opportunities for A. Eicoff’s work.

“The Internet is the best thing that happened to us,” McCabe said. “What we do is really sskind of a form of online marketing; we measure every single spot, every station is like its own website [and] we’re … using online strategies on television.”

McCabe said TV advertising will have even stronger direct response elements in the years ahead, with URLs or toll-free numbers likely to appear in virtually all commercials in the next five to ten years.

“It’s going to be a seamless transition,” Bliwas said of his replacement.

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