What is the American Advertising Federation (AAF)

The American Advertising Federation (AAF) is the oldest advertising trade group in the U.S. and includes members across all disciplines and career levels. According to the AAF, its purpose is to be the “unifying voice for advertising.” The AAF has over 40,000 individual and corporate members, which include advertising agencies, advertisers and media companies. It operates or produces advertising awards (the ADDY Awards), the Advertising Hall of Fame, and a student advertising competition, among other initiatives and programs.

BREAKING DOWN American Advertising Federation (AAF)

The American Advertising Federation, located in Washington, D.C., was formed to uphold high advertising standards and also to protect and promote the advertising trade. It seeks to be the voice for advertising in the United States. The AAF's mission is as follows: "The American Advertising Federation protects and promotes the wellbeing of advertising. We accomplish this through a unique, nationally coordinated grassroots network of advertisers, agencies, media companies, local advertising clubs and college chapters."

The AAF has 15 district operations around the country, as well as a national network of roughly 200 local federations. It also features more than 200 college chapters with over 6,500 student members. For students, the AAF can provide a jumpstart for individuals interested in a career in advertising in the form of work experience, networking connections and job opportunities. Membership provides access to job postings and resources, networking and advertising opportunities. For more, see the AAF's website www.aaf.org

American Advertising Federation Programs

The AAF serves its membership in the following ways:

  • Offers networking and development opportunities that help advertising professionals deliver creative business solutions.
  • Helps keep members informed about the latest technology, creativity and marketing trends. 
  • Promotes diversity and inclusion in advertising.
  • Recognizes and celebrates excellence in the advertising industry.
  • Plays a part in developing future advertising leaders.
  • Promotes and protects the advertising industry at various levels of government.
  • Offers programs to encourage local associations to be involved in the organization.
  • Fosters the use of advertising experts to help with community issues.
  • Provides opportunities for advertising professionals to build relationships (such as mentoring) within the industry.

American Advertising Federation History

The National Federation of Advertising Clubs was formed in 1905 by the merger of a number of local advertising clubs. In 1967, AAF predecessor the American Federation of Advertising (AFA) merged with its west coast counterpart, the Advertising Association of the West (AAW), to form the basic structure of today's national organization. One of its goals was to raise advertising standards through self-regulation and education.