NEW YORK: The legacy of Erwin Ephron, the influential media planning consultant who died last month, is to be marked by a new awards program, the Advertising Research Foundation has announced.

The Erwin Ephron Demystification Award will be presented annually in his memory, MediaPost reported. ARF CEO and President Gayle Fuguitt explained that the title was intended to reflect Ephron's own personality and his approach to simplifying the business of advertising and media research.

The program would be "inspired by a little bit of lightness", she said. Full details will be unveiled at the ARF's annual Re:think conference in March 2014.

The news came during an ARF Business Leadership Forum in New York, where Scott McDonald, senior vice president-research and insights at Conde Nast Publications, paid tribute to Ephron.

He said Ephron's greatest contributions to the advertising and media industry had been his approach to "simple storytelling" and his "gift for demystifying complex ideas".

"In a world where everyone else is selling something, and you don't know who to listen to, Erwin was selling wisdom," McDonald said.

Ephron was particularly associated with the development of "recency" planning which challenged the then dominant theory of frequency as the ad planning model for FMCGs.

He argued that it was more important to reach consumers at the point at which they were most likely to buy as opposed to just reaching them often, an idea he explained in detail in a 1997 article in the Journal of Advertising Research. Here he described recency planning as "the sensible idea that most advertising works by influencing the brand choice of consumers who are ready to buy".

Some 13 years later he revisited the subject to suggest that frequency had a greater role to play. Stephen D. Rappaport, ARF Knowledge Solutions Director, outlined his new thinking in a Knowledge@Hand post and said that with the move from an OTS measure to a specific count of people seeing advertising, "the role of frequency in building an advertising audience becomes obvious".

Data sourced from MediaPost; additional content by Warc staff