The American Advertising Federation (AAF), also known as Ad Club, recently created a student chapter at UTSA. AAF is the oldest national advertising trade association, and is considered “the organization of the advertising industry.”
While Ad Club specializes in advertising, many non-advertising majors will also benefit from the exposure this organization offers.
Marina “Red” Madden, faculty advisor for AAF’s student chapter at UTSA, explained that the club is much more than an advertising organization.
“The professional organization (is) not just for creative professionals that work in advertising…but it’s also (about) business, account executives and public relations.”
Advertising is a cross disciplinary field that requires backgrounds and skill sets of numerous fields of study.
“We need people in business; we need people in strategy,” said Madden. “We need writers, photographers and art designers, and it really is this great opportunity to create a lot of collaborative work.”
The student chapter of AAF prepares students for their professional careers by mimicking actual advertising agencies. Every year, AAF hosts a National Student Advertising Competition (NSAC) sponsored by large and prominent companies such as Pizza Hut, Toyota Prius and Coca-Cola.
Over a 12-month span, NSAC teams “do the strategy, the development and then pitch at the NSAC conference where they present the entire campaign they built,” Madden shared. AAF serves as a bridge between college students and professional experience in the field of advertising. These NSAC teams become student agencies.
“You have your account executives, you have your writers, your art directors, your research team and all of that comes into play,” added Madden.
Few clubs are applicable across multiple disciplines, and even fewer provide students with real world experience in the form of a nationally recognized competition. AAF and NSAC provide students with both.
“(The) short term goal is that we will have our team and our first competition in spring of 2016,” Madden explained. “This is the most real life experience you can get, while still being somewhat sheltered from real dollars.”
Madden also noted this is a “show-me-don’t-tell-me kind of world” when it comes to being job applicants.
“From the nationally recognized organization of AAF and the real world exposure NSAC offers, this organization will differentiate you from other competitive applicants,” she shared. “For those students who don’t have an extra circular activity, this is an organization that really delivers the goods.”
Inaugural club president of the college chapter, Jordon Reese, explained the first big event for the newly founded organization.
“There is an AAF region 10 student conference in Dallas,” Reese explained. “During this two-day long event, members will be attending resume workshops, developing portfolios, collaborating with various marketing leaders of advertising and establishing networking opportunities.
As a new student organization, Reese emphasized that AAF is in need of “new and enthusiastic members to participate in NSAC, develop their advertising skills, and above all, have fun!”
If interested, AAF meetings are held every first and third Thursday of the month at 5:30 p.m. The meeting locations vary, so stay informed by following the AAF college chapter at UTSA on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook at @AAFCLUBUTSA, @AAFCLUBUTSA, and AAF College Chapter respectively.