History of AAF-Orlando | Ad 2 Orlando | The 4th District

The Beginning

The Fourth District of the American Advertising Federation and the State of Florida have grown up together. Records show that several Ad Clubs were formed before World War I but disbanded when members entered military service.

The Fourth District, of which we are a part, appears to have been established in 1924, prompted by the development of an advertising industry to serve the real estate and tourism industries. The first known written reference to the District was in 1930, when Miami hosted the convention of the Fourth District, Advertising Clubs of America. By 1937, there were five advertising clubs in the state, including Orlando.

In 1949, a convention in Tampa included a talk, “Newspaper Will Always Be With Us,” and a banquet speech by Advertising Federation of America President Elon G. Borton, who told the group that advertising had never before faced such a challenge and opportunity. About $25 for every man, woman and child was spent in 1947 he said–approximately $3,800,000,000 total, or more than $10,000,000 for every day in the year, he said. There were also discussions on bus, car and taxi card advertising; how advertising executives helped colleges produce experienced advertising graduates; and how “A Woman Looks at Advertising.” With just six advertising clubs in Florida – Tampa, Jacksonville, Orlando, Miami and two in St. Petersburg (one for women and one for men) District Governor Collins set out to build more. “A substantial increase in the number of advertising clubs in Florida would help to produce even greater results from its advertising invitations to the nation to spend the Winter or the Summer in our state.” he wrote.

In fact, the Orlando Advertising Club was originally called the Central Florida Advertising Club. Origins of our club seem to have come from the Toledo Ad Women club in this article from 1951.

Advertising Matures

As we entered the 50s, the Advertising Federation of America adopted five major functions: education for advertising, public relations for advertising, higher standards in advertising, public service through advertising and club achievements.

In June of 1950 the first mention of Florida delegates attending a national convention was published.

In 1951 and Educational Conference was held in Orlando from February 24-25. A magazine article published the following month gives some insight as to the purpose of the conference which was held annually in Orlando as it was a midway location between the Universities of Florida and Miami. Students, faculty and Fourth District ad clubbers had a “hot and heavy” discussion of school and student club projects. “Much thought was given to the matter of Advertising aptitude tests for college students.” And discussion was given to “Bridging the Gap” between graduation and occupation.

That year the Orlando club chose “Cast your Bread Upon the Waters” as its theme for the year. Program and workshop sessions were planned to help answer the needs of small businessman, with the hope that, in turn, appreciative merchants would the Ad Club.

During 1951, members of Advertising Clubs participated in career guidance programs throughout the state and at least some were shocked by the questions teachers had apparently instructed students to ask, such as: “What are the retirement provisions available in advertising?” “What bonuses can I expect in advertising?” “What security is there in advertising?” “What are the hours?” At the Orlando High School, Ad Clubber Ed DeNike struck back with answers to the effect that the advertising profession was not seeking people, and advertising had no place for those looking for feather beds. Further, he expounded, “Since advertising was the great expression of individual initiative and free enterprise, career-seeking students with such requirements would immediately be eliminated as prospects for good advertising people.”

1956 brought the Southeastern Advertising Conference to Orlando from March 22-24, 1956. The aim of the meeting was to show the responsibilities expected of advertising in the Southeast area, to prepare to meet the responsibilities and to emphasize the effect that the Fourth District had upon the growth of the Southeast. At that time there were still only seven clubs represented by Orlando, Tampa, St. Petersburg, Miami, Tallahassee and Savannah, Ga.

By 1962 the advertising clubs grew to include Daytona Beach, Ft. Lauderdale, Greater Miami, Jacksonville, Lakeland, Orlando, Palm Beaches, Suncoast of St. Petersburg, Tampa and Clearwater.

In 1963 the theme of the convention in Orlando was “Advertising Countdown.” Nationally prominent speakers discussed the trends, accomplishments and threats to the advertising industry prevalent in the 60s. The more than 200 members of the District who attended the convention took “a sharp swat” at pending state legislation to place a sales tax on advertising. In a resolution directed to the legislators, the Board urged opposition to the bill by saying “Don’t kill the advertising goose that is laying the golden eggs of Florida’s prosperity.” Eight Fourth District clubs participated in the ADDY Awards in 1963. There were 620 entries covering 32 categories. The national Advertising Recognition Week theme for 1964 was “Advertising is the Voice of Free Choice.”

1972 saw the District return to Orlando as the convention was held at the Contemporary Hotel at Walt Disney World, April 27-30. Herb Klein, Press Secretary to the White House, was the keynote luncheon speaker. Other speakers included the Executive Vice President of Marsteller, Inc., the Director of Creative Services for General Foods Corporation, the president of Souther Outdoor Markets, Inc., a vice-president of the Leo Burnett Co. and other notable figures in the advertising world. Past Governor Gary Kerns was a program co-chairman. Glenn W. Turner of Orlando sponsored the Friday luncheon. By October, 1972, there were 14 Ad Federations listed including Clearwater, Daytona Beach, Ft. Lauderdale, Gainesville, Jacksonville, Miami, Ad II-Miami, Orlando, Palm Beaches, Polk County, St. Petersburg, Sarasota/Venice/Bradenton, Tallahassee and Tampa.

In 1980 the National Club Achievement Awards went to Orlando for Membership, Ft. Lauderdale for Programs, Bay Area Ad Club II for Public Service and Miami for ADDY Awards. Bill Evans, Gainesville, received the national “President of the Year” Award.

The Modern Era Begins

In the early 1980s the Angel Awards came into being. For many years, the District had felt the need for a separate Public Service Awards presentation. Under the direction of Angel Tio, the Angel Awards for Public Service was established and the first presentation was made. The statewide Advertising Awareness campaign was themed, “Advertising, It Works for You” and our statewide Public Service campaign to make parents aware of the importance of seat belts had the slogan, “Belt ‘Em.” Three clubs, Tampa, Gainesville and Orlando, received National Achievement Awards.

In 1986 the Orlando Ad 2 Club was founded, as well as Suncoast in New Port Richey and Space coast in the Cape Canaveral area.

By 1987 Ad 2 won “Club of the Year” amongst their peers, and the AAF 4th District lashed out against taxes on our industry and produced a first-of-its-kind lawsuit.