On the passing of Alfred W. Erickson, Printers’s Ink described him as "one of the most useful of America’s advertising agents" and "a powerful force in the general upbuilding of American business."
His agency career started in 1903 when he resigned as advertising manager of the James McCutcheon Company to found his own agency, The Erickson Company. He headed this company until 1903, when it merged with the H. K. McCann Company to form McCann-Erickson Inc., of which he was chairman at the time of his death. In 1936 he was posthumously awarded the Annual Advertising Awards Gold Medal Award for distinguished service to advertising.
Following is an excerpt from "A Tribute to A. W. Erickson by John Benson, President, American Association of Advertising Agencies" as printed November 26, 1936:
Advertising men owed Eric a debt which we could never pay. He did so much that has made advertising what it is today. He was one of the three or four originators of the A.B.C. He fought hard to establish it in the early days and to expand it among publishers.
As far back as 1911, he, with others, urged and promoted the idea of a national association of advertising agencies. He traveled about the country to stir up interest in local groups, was a mastermind in founding what is now the New York Council, took an active role in amalgamating the five regional groups into a national body...
Throughout his agency career, Eric fought for and ever practiced reliability and good faith in advertising. He hated with all his soul the tricky and insincere.