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RIP Erik du Plessis

Erik du Plessis, a local research legend and the former chairman of Millward Brown South Africa, has passed away.

Erik du Plessis ‘doing his thing’ at the SAMRA Annual Conference in 2011  in Vanderbijlpark, in the same hotel that the first SAMRA Annual Conference was held back in 1979. Erik was there for both, and his trip down memory lane had us all in stitches.

Erik du Plessis founded the local research and insights company Impact Information in 1984.  In 2000, Impact Information merged with Millward Brown to become one of the biggest research companies in South Africa today.   

Not only a pioneer in South Africa, Erik’s contribution globally to the thinking around neuroscience and its influence on brands, was in many ways, a precursor for much of the modern world’s understanding of the brain and its ability to process advertising.  His books, The Advertised Mind, (which won WPP’s Atticus Award for the most original thinking in communications), as well as the Branded Mind, were widely read in both industry and academic circles.

Erik began his career as a market analyst, researcher and brand manager at SFW before joining BDDO advertising as media director and research director. He later started Impact Information, and went on to build one of the largest databases in the world of tracked television commercials called Adtrack. 

During his career, Erik consulted with nearly every major company in South Africa on brand management, research, advertising strategy and media planning.

Erik’s thoughts were published globally in the Journal of Advertising Research, ADMAP, the Harvard Business Review, as well as many local publications.  He was the Visiting Professor at the Copenhagen Business School teaching neuromarketing from 2007-2009, and a Teaching Fellow at the Curtin University of Technology, Business School in Perth, Australia between 2007 and 2009.

The recipient of many awards, Erik won best paper at SAMRA on three occasions, he was the winning author at the Telmar Awards in New York, and in 2001, was awarded the SA Media Directors Circle Platinum Achievement Award.

Erik, you will be truly missed!  Our thoughts go out to his family and friends.

The family will be holding a private funeral.  Any messages of condolence can be sent to Ilse Dinner (ILSE.DINNER@KANTAR.COM) to share with his family.

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