More than 100 years ago, as advertising became recognized as an important and viable means of communication, advertising professionals identified the need to join together to protect and promote their trade. Across the country, local organizations were formed to achieve this objective. These local clubs joined together and evolved into two professional organizations in 1904: Advertising Association of the West (AAW) and the Advertising Federation of America (AFA). These organizations worked independently for a number of years to raise the standards of advertising through education and self-regulation. In 1911, the AFA’s “truth in advertising” movement became the forerunner to Better Business Bureaus.
As technology advanced, these two organizations worked more cooperatively, finding it necessary to coordinate activities and positions, particularly when dealing with legislation. In 1962 a commission was formed at a joint convention to discuss merging the associations. Five years later, in February of 1967, a unified voice for advertising emerged: The American Advertising Federation (AAF).
AAF Organizational Structure
The American Advertising Federation as a trade association represents more than 50,000 advertising professionals in the advertising industry. AAF has a national network of 210 ad clubs and connects the industry with an academic base through its 210 college chapters.
AAF is organized geographically and by membership size divisions to provide clubs and federations with representation in national policy and decision-making and to facilitate communication.
AAF is divided into three geographically grouped regions: Western, Central and Eastern. There are 15 multi-state districts in AAF. We are in the 10th district which is comprised of advertising clubs and federations in the states of Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas.
AAF Mission and Strategic Goals
The American Advertising Federation advances the business of advertising as a vital and essential part of the American economy and culture. The AAF educated policymakers, the news media and the general public on the value that advertising brings to the well-being of the nation and develops the industry’s present and future leaders.
The AAF mission is concentrated into the following areas of concern:
Government and Public Relations
The American public, legislative and policy influencers will understand the economic and social value of advertising.
AAF will take the leading role in assuring that federal and state legislative and regulatory issues are resolved consistent with the values of free speech and economic growth.
Professional Development and Recognition
AAF awards programs will recognize the outstanding contributions of advertising and its practitioners.
AAF members – individual and organizational members – will be prepared to be effective and successful in the 21st century.
AAF will be the leader/bridge between advertising education and the industry.
Community Service, Social Responsibility and High Standards
The power of advertising will be used for the public good by addressing social issues throughout the nation.
Through AAF efforts, opportunities will be created for minorities within the federation and the industry.
The AAF will be a leader in promoting high standards of ethics, truth in advertising, and effective self-regulation.
Benefits and Services to Members
Advertising clubs, corporations which buy, sell, use and provide advertising services, and student advertising chapters will find real value in AAF membership.
Members will find exciting and meaningful opportunities to enhance relationships and exchange information and ideas related to the advertising industry.