About Us

The AAF advances the business of advertising as a vital and essential part of the American economy and culture. To fulfill this mission, the AAF has established the following goals which are it’s highest priorities.

AAF Long-Range Strategic Goals

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

  • The AAF awards program will recognize the outstanding contributions of advertising and its practitioners.
  • AAF members (individual and organizational members) will be prepared to be effective 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 societal 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 of 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.

AAF – Brief History


By the turn of the 19th Century, advertising had been recognized as an important and viable means of communication. The industrial movement gave rise to the need for product and service promotion and practitioners became concerned with assuring high business standards. Then, as now, advertising professionals identified the need to join together to protect and promote their trade.

This idea led to the organization of professional advertising clubs founded on the principle of upholding high industry standards. Across the country, advertising professionals formed local organizations to achieve this objective.

By 1904, these local advertising clubs realized that to be effective they should join together. Accordingly, the local clubs in the West formed the Pacific Coast Advertising Men’s association. A year later, the East Coast clubs organized into a National Federation of Advertising Clubs. These two regional groups evolved to become the Advertising Association of the West (AAW), and the Advertising Federation of America (AFA).

Both associations worked to raise the standards of advertising through education and self-regulation. In the East, the AFA organized a national vigilance committee in 1911 and launched the “truth in advertising” movement, the forerunner to Better Business Bureaus. The AAW became involved in this movement a year later.

For several years, the AFA and AAW worked cooperatively to promote and protect industry interests as pressure towards merger mounted. In 1962, a joint convention was held and a commission was formed to discuss the issue of a merger. Five years later, in February 1967, the Advertising Federation of America and the Association of the West joined forces creative the unifying voice for advertising, The American Advertising Federation.

Today, AAF is headquartered in Washington, D.C., with a Western Region Office in San Francisco. AAF represents nearly 50,000 advertising men and women in all industry segments. Members join together to achieve a common mission.


AAF – Membership

The American Advertising Federation is the only national organization representing all industry segments through a broad-based membership. AAF has the following membership divisions:

Clubs / Federations: Local professional advertising associations.

AAF is the only national advertising organization for local professional advertising associations. Member clubs comprise the AAF grass roots which is the industry’s most valuable resource in advancing and protecting advertising interests.

Corporate Members: Advertiser, agency, media and advertising service companies.

Corporate members pay dues based on advertising expenditures and/or billings. AAF corporate member dues are AAF’s primary source of income. In addition, corporate members financially support AAF activity and programming through sponsorships.

College / University Chapters: Campus organizations comprised of advertising students.

AAF is the only national advertising organization with a student membership. Therefore, AAF serves as the link between the professions, academicians and future advertising professionals.

Inter Association Council

Leaders of other trade associations representing specific advertising segments join the AAF Inter Association Council to promote effective cooperation and coordination on industry initiatives and activity.


For more information…
District Two Clubs | List of AAF Districts | List of AAF Member Clubs | The System: How AAF Clubs Are Categorized