The American Advertising Federation is a nonprofit national advertising trade association that was established 114 years ago. They're headquartered in Washington, D.C. and branching off from the headquarters are 15 district operations across the nation. The mission of AAF states that they “protect and promote 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”. Knowing the AAF mission statement and the importance of protecting and promoting the well-being of advertising, Inner Spark Creative was eager to become a member of this federation and get involved. Shortly after opening our agency, we officially became a member and are honored to be a part of The American Advertising Federation of Montgomery, also named a part of district number 7.
Becoming a member of AAF Montgomery comes with many perks for corporate memberships, individual memberships and student/educator memberships. These perks not only include conferences, networking opportunities and award ceremonies, but they include workshops, e-newsletters, leadership opportunities, opportunities to participate on AAF committees for the AAF located in their specific district, updates on current technology, social media and much more.
The American Advertising Federation of Montgomery assists advertising agencies, like Inner Spark Creative, in networking, expanding knowledge on advertising, promoting diversity, enhancing communication skills and other important tools to assist members in the advertising world. AAF of Montgomery hosts meetings throughout each year called “Lunch and Learns,” these events invite speakers to come and speak on specific topics that are beneficial to local advertising agencies. Not only is the information beneficial, but the networking opportunities are endless.
These opportunities are invaluable to Inner Spark because in the advertising industry, it is important to get out and build a positive reputation for your agency. Many smaller agencies from other areas are members of AAF Montgomery which allows businesses to help each other develop and grow in the advertising world. Meeting people from other agencies and networking with each other helps expand our network and our knowledge about best practice for running an agency. These events also provide great opportunity to meet in-house marketing teams from various businesses, who, can often need agency assistance. Inner Spark values all the business opportunities and professional development opportunities that AAF Montgomery provides us with.
The American Advertising Federation of Montgomery also does an great job involving students in their membership program. AAF Montgomery wants to see students succeed when it comes to a future career in the advertising world by hosting an annual student conference, formally known as “Portfolio Day”. During this conference, AAF Montgomery provides students with speakers, hands-on knowledge and networking opportunities. Not only is the annual student conference held, but AAF Montgomery offers three scholarships, one that is local, one that is statewide and one throughout the district 7 region, to students who are eligible. The local scholarship is known as the AAF Montgomery Scholarship, the statewide scholarship is named the AAEF Bruce Roche Scholarship and the district 7 scholarship is named the Jan Gardner Scholarship. Students are encouraged by these scholarships and by AAF Montgomery to finish school and expand their education.
Here at Inner Spark Creative, we take pride in educating our college interns by giving them a hands-on experience in the advertising and public relations world. It is important that students understand the opportunities that are available from organizations like AAF, therefore we ensure they are familiarized and knowledgeable about what is on offer, making sure they are on the front foot prior to entering the workforce.
Additionally, each year, AAF Montgomery provides their current members with the opportunity to compete in the nation’s largest advertising award competition known as “the ADDYS”. This competition gives advertisers and advertising agencies, like Inner Spark Creative, across the nation a chance to enter their most creative and inspiring pieces for a chance to win a gold or silver trophy in their category. Winners of the AAF Montgomery “ADDYS” are then able to compete in the District 7 American Advertising Awards and then those winners are then entered in the National competition. Inner Spark Creative’s Creative Director, Jarrett Moore, participated in the ADDY’s and came home with the National Silver ADDY Award for graphic design from the American Advertising Federation.
As a whole, AAF is constantly trying to improve the advertising industry and the opportunities offered through this federation. AAF promotes advocacy through grassroots activities, a mosaic center which focuses on diversity, information about advertising ethics, education services for college students that will help jump start their career in advertising and publications & professional resources. Through these efforts, AAF is always working on the betterment of themselves and their members. AAF is proud of where they are currently as a federation, but are also excited to see where they will be in the near future.