January 13, 2006

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AAF Celebrates 10th Annual Most Promising Minority Students Program With Largest Student Minority Recruiting Event in Its History

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Celebrating the premier minority recruiting event's 10th class in grand style, the American Advertising Federation's (AAF) Most Promising Minority Students (MPMS) Programwill bring 51 talented minority students to New York to meet with top advertising, media and agency companies. Growing by 25 percentfrom last year, the 2006 MPMS program is the advertising industry's largest and most comprehensive diversity hiring solution. This year's 51 graduating advertising seniors represent 35 colleges (see list below). The largest Most Promising Minority Students Program ever will be held February 7–9, 2006, at the New York Athletic Club in New York City.

Over the past 10 years, it has become increasingly imperative for corporations to broaden employee diversity. The Most Promising Program began in 1997 when AAF corporate members voiced a need to access qualified minority candidates for jobs in advertising. The AAF has remained dedicated to that cause and has responded by steadily broadening the program, culminating in this year's 100 percent increase from the program's initial 25 students. The program, managed by the AAF Mosaic Center on Multiculturalism, has provided nearly 300 minority candidatesin its 10-year history by connecting recruiters with advertising students that demonstrate excellence.

In the multicultural marketing section of the survey, the benefits of such marketing are seen as substantial among those questioned, with precise targeting rated as the greatest benefit. Developing creative work that speaks to multicultural segments and effectively marketing multicultural campaigns to audience-specific segments rank as the most important challenges. However, 50 percent of respondents report that their organization has been not at all or not very successful in recruiting and retaining minority talent.

"What better way to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the AAF's Most Promising Minority Students Program than by increasing the number of students honored through this prestigious program," said AAF President & CEO Wally Snyder. "The longevity of the program speaks to the success of its mission to broaden the diversity of the industry workforce with capable young people."

This year's presiding luncheon chair is Frank Cooper, vice president, marketing, Pepsi-Cola Company and Most Promising principal underwriter; co-chairs are Sheena Payne, manager of advertising and promotions, American Airlines and Most Promising official airline, and Jill Manee, vice president/publisher, the Ad Age Group and Most Promising trade media partner. Other sponsors (to date) include Verizon Communications, USA TODAY, the Walt Disney Company, Saatchi & Saatchi, Ogilvy & Mather, Nielsen Media Research, Leo Burnett, Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies, Inc., Knight Ridder, J. Walter Thompson, Foote Cone & Belding, ESPN, Cleveland Advertising Association Education Foundation, Campbell-Ewald, Burrell Communications, BET, BBDO Worldwide and Arnold.

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The American Advertising Federation (AAF), headquartered in Washington, D.C., acts as the "Unifying Voice for Advertising." The AAF is the oldest national advertising trade association, representing 50,000 professionals in the advertising industry. The AAF has a national network of 200 ad clubs located in ad communities across the country. Through its 215 college chapters, the AAF provides 6,500 advertising students with real-world case studies and recruitment connections to corporate America. The AAF also has 130 blue-chip corporate members that are advertisers, agencies and media companies, comprising the nation's leading brands and corporations. For more information, visit the AAF's Web site at www.aaf.org.