The Advertising Association of the West (AAW) Details

The advertising profession was created to develop advertising strategies that were sustainable and easily accessible in the United States. Gaining steady traction some years later, advertising professionals in certain regions deemed it fit to start working as regional entities. As a result, a group of advertising experts set up the first advertising association on the West Coast in 1904.

At first, they called the association the Pacific Coast Advertising Men's Association. The organization later changed its name to be inclusive towards women—and advertisers who didn't work near the ocean—coming forward as the Advertising Association of The West. While the Western Region of the US had their association, the Eastern states formed the Advertising Federation of America (AFA) in 1905.

The Second World War brought about a dramatic tilt in the advertising industry. WWII precipitated the evolution of technology in telecommunications and air travel, thus breaching the gap between the Eastern and Western States. As a result, the 1967 collaboration between these two entities (AAW and AFA) ultimately brought about the rise of the "American Advertising Federation."

Real-World Example of the Advertising Association of the West (AAW)

Before 1967, the AAW and the AFA worked together but remained separate entities to represent different industry interests. In 1911, the AFA formed a national vigilance committee, which served as the precursor to the Better Business Bureau. The Advertising Association of the West joined the AFA's initiative a year later.

Called the "truth in advertising" movement, the movement was an attempt at industry self-regulation. Prior to the Great Depression, the advertising industry's credibility ranked low compared to other industries, mainly due to the sensationalization of advertisements. Instead of leaning on false or hyperbolic promises, the AAW and the AFA promoted balancing truth with best advertisement practices.

The Advertising Association of the West vs. The American Advertising Federation

The American Advertising Federation is the result of the AAW and AFA merger. The Federation's functions, albeit revolutionized, still seek to accomplish the same goals that the AAW had. However, while the AAW catered to West Coast states alone, the newly formed American Advertising Federation services every region in the United States. With its headquarters in Washington DC, the AAF ensures that advertising in every region follows specific standards.

The American Advertising Federation carries out advertising-related activities in the United States. With over 50,000 members, the AAF is considered a huge force. Members of the AAF are professionals around the country from media companies, advertising agencies, local advertising brands, and numerous college chapters.

The AAF is charged with ensuring that advertisers have protective rights binding to all their activities. The association also ensures that US citizens see the limitless value inherent in advertisements. The AAF runs independent operations in different regions in over 15 states.