What is AAF? A look at the national organization

Established in 1905, the American Advertising Federation (AAF) is the only organization that includes members across all disciplines and career levels in advertising. Whether you’re new to the fast-paced world of advertising or a seasoned professional, the AAF is for you. We’re here to help you advance your career, build your connections and celebrate this ever-changing, amazing industry we work in.

Headquartered in Washington, DC, we are the “Unifying Voice for Advertising.” The AAF has more than 200 local clubs across the U.S. representing nearly 40,000 advertising professionals, connecting and leading the industry. We’re excited to help more than 5,000 college chapter members kickstart their careers with a 200+ college chapter network and an array of student programs. We have nearly 100 corporate members who are loyal and supportive of our ongoing efforts.

Each year, the AAF hosts numerous programs and initiatives, including the Advertising Hall of Fame, the American Advertising Awards, the National Student Advertising Competition, the Mosaic Center on Multiculturalism and summer Ad Camps for high school students. We appreciate our members’ continued loyalty and industry’s engagement and enthusiasm surrounding our events—and we look forward to seeing you at our next one.


The AAF Mission

The American Advertising Federation protects and promotes the well being of advertising. We accomplish this through a unique, nationally coordinated grassroots network of advertisers, agencies, media companies, local advertising clubs and college chapters.



  • Brings members together to deliver creative business solutions
  • Keeps members abreast of the latest trends in technology, creativity and marketing
  • Promotes diversity and inclusion in advertising
  • Honors and celebrates advertising excellence
  • Develops the industry’s future leaders
  • Protects and promotes advertising at all levels of government through grassroots activities
  • Offers engaging programs to encourage local association volunteer leadership
  • Utilizes industry expertise to address community issues
  • Provides opportunities for professionals to build supportive relationships with others in the advertising industry


AAF Committees

The AAF is honored to work with committees comprised of esteemed industry leaders that represent nearly 100 companies, agencies and brands that lead the advertising industry. These committees work closely with the AAF to develop and promote various programs and initiatives, including the Advertising Hall of Fame, Advertising Hall of Achievement, American Advertising Awards, Mosaic Council and more.



The AAF takes pride in celebrating our industry and the outstanding professionals in it. From college students to advertising legends and outlandish creatives to brilliant media buyers, we proudly honor all of them through our advertising awards.

Our Efforts

The AAF is continually working to improve and better the industry we love. That’s why we provide our members with the tools and resources they need to empower themselves. And that’s why we work tirelessly with advertisers by advocating in Washington, DC, setting ethical standards, providing professional development opportunities, promoting diversity and inclusion and so much more.

What is AAF? A look at District 7

AAF District 7 of the American Advertising Federation (AAF) represents 20 affiliate advertising clubs and federations of the AAF across five states including: Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee.

AAF District 7 is a nonprofit, volunteer-based organization that is committed to serving the communities in which it resides in. AAF District 7 focuses on various initiatives throughout the year, including:

  1. Advertising Education: Scholarships and the National Student Advertising Competition (NSAC)—District 7 launched this initiative!
  2. Diversity & Multicultural Initiatives: Scholarships as well as education and awareness initiatives supporting multicultural diversity and inclusion.
  3. Government Relations: Legislative advocacy, awareness and education on several advertising hot topics.
  4. Professional Development: Enriching educational programs are held at all District conferences.
  5. Public Service: Community service projects and drives are hosted within District 7.
  6. Awards: Professional, student and AAF member-focused awards.

Our Mission

The mission of AAF District 7 is to strengthen local AAF affiliate organizations (clubs, federations and college chapter members) through leadership training, education, communication, idea forums, enrichment, and recognition programs; promote advertising industry standards; encourage professional development; enhance and encourage business opportunities for professional and student members; defend the advertising industry against adverse governmental action; and act as a liaison between national AAF and local chapters to ensure the vitality of the advertising profession.

The AAF District 7 Board of Directors is made up of all local Club presidents, Regional Directors and the Executive Committee (EC). The EC is in place to lead and guide the District during the current year and into the future.

Tax Reform: Draft Letter Against Advertising Tax

Please use this draft letter for advocating no change to the tax treatment of advertising in the proposed tax reform bill. This letter uses text from letters signed by House and Senate members (sent to both the House Speaker and the Senate Majority and Minority leaders) and copy to make it more appropriate from a business owner’s perspective.

Dear _____________________,

The 115 th Congress holds the promise of streamlining the corporate tax code in order to achieve lower rates for America’s businesses and eliminate tax loopholes and special preferences. We vigorously support these efforts to boost job creation, grow wages and strengthen the economy. The potential
for strengthening the economy would be jeopardized by any proposal that imposes an advertising tax on our nation’s manufacturing, retail and service industries.

In our system we tax profits. By definition, a profit is the difference between revenue and costs. Advertising, as a reoccurring cost of doing business, is and should remain to be, accorded the same treatment as all other regularly occurring business expenses, such as employee wages, rent and
utilities. Any measure that would tax advertising, and therefore make it more expensive, cannot be justified as a matter of tax or economic policy.

America relies on advertising to inform potential customers, generate sales and support workers across our nation. A study by the economic consulting firm IHS Economics and Country Risk found that in 2014, advertising supported 20 million U.S. jobs and $5.8 trillion in U. S. sales. Significantly, the
study showed that every dollar of advertising spending generates $19 million of economic activity, and that advertising contributes to 19 percent of the nation’s GDP. Advertising is also responsible for supporting the high-quality news, information and entertainment that is a cornerstone of our democracy and upon which every American relies.

Let there be no doubt that any change to the current tax treatment of advertising as a deductible and immediate business expense, will negatively and significantly impact businesses across the nation and will have long term damaging effects on millions of U.S. workers and consumers.

Thank you for your efforts in considering the challenges of fixing our country’s tax code and strengthening America’s ability to compete economically around the globe. I ask that any changes in our tax system be meaningful, economically sound, and do not threaten the impacts of advertising jobs and the economy.


AAF Alert – Tax Reform Update

Clark Rector, Jr., Executive Vice President of Government Affairs

AAF Alert – Tax Reform Update

House Republicans have released their comprehensive tax reform plan, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The bill as introduced did not include any limitations on the deduction for advertising expenses. While this is very good news for consumers and the advertising industry, the threat is not over.

The House Ways and Means Committee will mark up the bill during the week of November 6. During that process any member of the committee could introduce an amendment to limit the advertising deduction in order to raise money for other purposes. We have no indication at this time that any member is planning on doing so.

The Senate Finance Committee is writing its own version of tax reform and scheduled to release it soon. Because this committee is writing its own bill, the advertising deduction is at risk here also.

bi-partisan letter defending the advertising deduction has been sent to the Republican and Democratic leaders of the Senate and the Finance Committee. The letter was authored by Senators John Boozman, R-Ark. and Tammy Baldwin, D-Wisc. and signed by thirteen of their colleagues. The letter is similar to the Engel-Yoder letter sent last spring to House and Ways and Means Committee leaders signed by 241 members of the House of Representatives.

AAF’s grassroots efforts are working. Many members of the House and Ways and Means Committee cited the strong response from the advertising industry in their home districts as part of the reason advertising maintained its full deduction in the reform proposal.

The advertising industry must stay vigilant. I urge all AAF members to contact theirSenators and urge them to oppose any effort to limit the full deduction for advertising expenses. If your Senator or Representative signed either the Boozman-Baldwin orEngel-Yoder letters I encourage you to contact their offices and thank them for supporting the advertising industry. These elected officials took a stand on our industry’s behalf and their support should be acknowledged.

Thank you to everyone who has already contacted their Senators and Representatives. Please circulate this alert to other members of your company and/or local advertising federation. Keep up the good work and do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or comments.

The AAF Government Report is available to all members of the AAF. If you are interested in receiving an emailed copy, please email government@aaf.org.

If you are interested in receiving the AAF SmartBrief, an opt-in news service, please visit www.smartbrief.com/aaf. The AAF SmartBrief condenses advertising industry news from dozens of media sources into a succinct, easy to read email.

Go to the AAF’s Advocacy webpage.

Government Relations: Advertising Deductibility

AAF Colleague:

Thank you to everyone who contacted their Representatives and Senators after my previous alert on tax reform. I am writing to once again ask for your help.

Senators John Boozman, R-Ark. and Tammy Baldwin, D-Wisc. have co-authored a bipartisan letter to the Senate leaders urging them to maintain the tax treatment of advertising as a normal and necessary business expense fully deductible in the year it is incurred. The text of the letter is below. It is similar to the Engle-Yoder letter sent to House leadership last fall and signed by 124 members of the House of Representatives.

Senators Baldwin and Boozman are soliciting signatures from other Senators for the letter. Please contact your Senators and ask them to sign the Boozman-Baldwin letter on advertising deductibility. Let them know it is important to you and your business that the tax treatment of advertising remain unchanged. The more signatures on the letter, the stronger our position will be in the Senate. Contact information for all Senators can be found here.

I would appreciate hearing of any responses you get from either of your Senators. Please let me know if you have any questions or comments, and thank you for your continued help on this important issue.


Clark Rector
Executive Vice President-Government Affairs
American Advertising Federation
Follow me on Twitter @ClarkRector1

Text of the Boozman-Baldwin letter:

Dear Leaders McConnell and Schumer:

This Congress, we have the opportunity to enact much-needed, meaningful tax reform. As we work with you on these efforts to bolster economic growth, close loopholes, and raise the incomes of working Americans, we respectfully request that you maintain the current tax treatment of advertising as a fully and immediately deductible business expense.

For the life of the tax code, advertising has been treated the same as all other regularly occurring business expenses, such as employee wages, rent, utilities, and office supplies. Any measure that would tax advertising – and therefore make it more expensive – cannot be justified as a matter of tax or economic policy. Moreover, such a proposal would run counter to a major goal of tax reform we can all agree on – simplifying the tax code.

Businesses across the country rely on advertising and promotional products to inform potential customers, generate sales, and support workers across our nation. According to a 2014 study by IHS Economics and Country Risk, advertising supports 20 million U.S. jobs and $5.8 trillion in U.S. activity. That advertising contributes to 19 percent of our nation’s GDP and is responsible for supporting the high-quality news and information we all rely on.

As the Senate continues to work towards tax reform, we ask that you continue to support local businesses and recognize the importance of advertising on jobs and the economy.

2016 – 2017 Scholarships Awarded

The American Advertising Federation of Northeast Tennessee (AAF-NETN) has awarded academic scholarships for the first time, to Milligan student Gloria Vazquez and East Tennessee State University (ETSU) student Olivia Page. The awards were announced by AAF-NETN’s education co-chairs: Dr. Carrie Swanay, chair of Milligan College performing, visual, and communicative arts; and Art Brown, Milligan College assistant professor of graphic design. The scholarships are given for the 2016-2017 academic year.

“We’re excited about the new scholarship initiative offered by our local chapter,” Swanay said. “In addition to the scholarship awards, each student will receive a free one-year membership to AAF-NETN. This gives students the opportunity to network and will help them get to know local industry professionals.”

Gloria-VazquezVazquez, a sophomore at Milligan College, is pursuing a career in graphic design. “I have always enjoyed creating art since I could hold a pencil,” Vazquez said. “It made my day when I would show friends and family a sketch, and they would be surprised with what I had drawn. Graphic design is a career that communicates a message through the arts, and I want to create designs that could change the world.”

The first of her family to attend college, Vazquez sees this as a real opportunity. “This scholarship will greatly help me to continue my work as a graphic designer and meet designers in this region,” she said. “Since the scholarship was determined by the quality and uniqueness of the student’s online portfolio, I was nervous about developing mine for the first time. When I knew that I had impressed the AAF-NETN panel, it gave me more confidence toward my work.”

Olivia-PagePage, a junior at ETSU, is pursuing her degree in media and communications, with a concentration in advertising and public relations.

“I chose the field of media and communications because of the impact it can make on people’s lives,” Page said. “I love to engage and be present with the people around me, and I believe communications can provide an opportunity to do that. Whether working for a corporation’s next campaign or creating a press release for a new children’s hospital unveiling, there is always a new challenge in front of you to make a difference in the piece you are working on.

“I realized early that this field is the perfect blend of creativity and organization,” Page added. “That is a big reason why I enjoy it so much. These characteristics are what really led me to this field.” Upon graduation, Page plans to pursue graduate school and earn her master’s degree.

“Our local club is proud to provide deserving students with additional resources to further their education in our industry,” says club president, Samara Bolling, who is the director of integrated marketing and insights for Ntara. “Our affiliation with area colleges and faculty allows us to stay involved and see new young professionals enter the field of advertising.”

Dr. Stephen Marshall, chair of the ETSU department of media and communication, agreed. “AAF-NETN has always been amazing and supportive of student outcomes,” Marshall said. “I don’t know another group that is more focused on education.”

AAF-NETN meets monthly to provide speakers and workshops as continuing education for local professional members and the community.

WJHL Invites Students Pursuing Degrees in Broadcast Television or Digital Media to Apply for Media General’s Minority Scholarship and Training Program by January 30, 2015

JOHNSON CITY, TN, JANUARY 2, 2015 – WJHL News Channel 11 announced that Media General, Inc. (“Media General”; NYSE:MEG), one of the nation’s largest multimedia companies, is now accepting applications for its Minority Scholarship and Training Program until January 30, 2015. The Company will award two scholarships/internships to commence in Summer 2015: one for a qualified college sophomore or junior student focused on a career in broadcast television, and one for a qualified college sophomore or junior student focused on a career in digital media.

Each student will receive either a one-year or two-year scholarship for up to ten thousand dollars ($10,000) per year, which can be used toward tuition, fees, books, and room and board. In addition, Media General will provide each student with hands-on training through a paid internship program at one of its television stations or digital businesses around the country. The Minority Scholarship recipients will be assigned full-time positions at Media General upon graduation and successful completion of the training program.

Applications will be accepted until January 30, 2015. The application and criteria for Media General’s Minority Scholarship and Training Program can be accessed via the Company’s website, http://www.mediageneral.com/careers/scholarship.html.

Media General’s Minority Scholarship and Training Program is an integral part of the Company’s strategy to strengthen its talent base and deepen connections within its local communities by building on the cultural diversity of its workforce.


WJHL-TV, News Channel 11, is a CBS-affiliated television station licensed to Johnson City, Tennessee, USA. WJHL-TV is owned by Richmond, Virginia-based Media General and is the CBS Television Network affiliate for the Tri-Cities area of northeastern Tennessee and southwestern Virginia. The station has studios on East Main Street in downtown Johnson City, and its transmitter is located on Holston Mountain.

National 2014 American Advertising Awards Winners Announced

BOCA RATON, Fla. ­– A social media campaign full of six-second home improvement tips from Lowe’s earned Best of Show honors for BBDO New York in the 2014 American Advertising Awards national competition.

Lynette Rios of the San Diego Portfolio Studio took home the Student Best of Show for a print campaign for Mini Maglite.

The awards were given at a gala event that closed the American Advertising Federation’s ADMERICA! national conference here Saturday (May 31).

BBDO’s campaign for Lowe’s harnessed the power of Vine, an online network for sharing videos no more than six seconds in length. The agency created a series of simple home improvement and decorating tips expressed in six-second videos shot mostly in stop-motion.

Rios’ ads featured tiny figures – George Washington on a quarter, a mouse and toy army men ­– shielding their eyes from the bright light of the Mini Maglite.

The work was judged the best out of more than 1,500 national finalists in the three-level competition. More than 40,000 entries were judged in more than 150 local competitions around the country. Seventy-five professional entries earned Gold ADDY Awards and 159 earned Silver. Student entrants earned 20 Gold and 39 Silver ADDYs.

A complete list of winners and images of the entries are available at http://winners.americanadvertisingawards.com/

Big Oak Ranch Public Service Project for AAF District 7

AAF Northeast Tennessee was extremely excited to be able to participate in a wonderful Public Service Project for AAF District 7 this past weekend.

Big Oak Ranch, a Christian children’s home, cares for more than 100 children who couldn’t get by without the love and support of their community. Since 1974, Founder John Croyle and his staff have seen more than 2,000 children come through and thrive on the two ranch campuses.

As part of AAF District 7’s “Give More, Get More” initiative for the 2013-2014 year, AAF Northeast Tennessee donated items like shampoo, body wash, toothbrushes, and deodorant. These much-needed items are often taken for granted or forgotten about but are necessary for everyday life and the dignity of these young people.

If you would like to learn more about Big Oak Ranch or contribute to a wonderful cause on your own, please visit www.bigoak.org for more information.

AAF District 7 Conference with Yellow Shoes Creative

Greetings from the AAF District 7 Conference! It’s been a great weekend of meetings so far, and we always enjoy representing AAFNETN. But…

We wish you were here!!!

The keynote speakers for lunch on Friday were Matt Stewart and John McCall, art director and copywriter from Disney’s internal creative group, Yellow Shoes.

As you would expect from Disney, it was a fun, entertaining presentation. We learned that the phrase “yellow shoes” began, once upon a time, as a code used to describe Walt’s mood. If he was in a good mood, the Disney employees would say, “it’s a ‘yellow shoes’ kind of day.”

That neat piece of trivia is the story behind the Yellow Shoes name, and the rest of the presentation was a story about stories.

Matt and John specifically discussed the benefit and challenges having more ways to tell our story than ever before. Having so many ways to share is great. But, there are also more stories vying for people’s attention, which is the challenge.

The takeaway? The best stories are relevant, contextual and, most of all fun, according to Matt and John, and these guys would know. Disney is all about stories, after all.

The Yellow Shoes presentation was also a much appreciated reminder for us to not forget to play, to always ask “what if?” and to find the fun and to share it with the world. Because that’s really what makes the connections, and that’s what makes marketing and advertising great.

Here are links to some of the recent Disney’s Yellow Shoes marketing efforts that Matt and John shared with us (and even they have small budgets sometimes!). We hope you enjoy these as much as we did. Here’s to making today “yellow shoes” kind of day!

It’s a Small World 50th Anniversary Celebration on Good Morning America http://youtu.be/JHoWNB-Mz4o

Star Wars Weekend http://youtu.be/qtw33b9TCfU

Free the Disney Goat http://youtu.be/ezDozz0rZCQ

New Fantasyland http://youtu.be/azaI92vXN-s