October/November 2021

Insights from Steve Pacheco

President & CEO, American Advertising Federation


I love the change of seasons.

Spring becomes Summer. Summer becomes Fall. Fall becomes Winter.

It’s as predictable as the sun coming up tomorrow….

And it always makes me think deeply about all of the possibilities of what’s next!

A change of seasons is a great reminder of the passage of time and the progressing of our careers, our friendships, our lives. 

At the AAF, we have important events and programs each and every season. Our calendar is packed full of our core programs and platforms, our signature events and experiences and our focus on developing the next generation of advertising leaders.

Right now, we are focused on “Back to School” with our ongoing Advertising Education efforts—like our Student Advertising Career Conference which just wrapped up with 150 college students attending virtually and more than a dozen World Class Advertising leaders who served as speakers and presenters and who shared their personal career journey stories in their own unique voices. The AAF's Student Advertising Career Conference is a three-day immersive event experience where students learn about the field of advertising, discover what trends are developing in the industry and ignite their careers by networking with knowledgeable advertising professionals. 

Soon we will recognize, celebrate and honor the AAF Advertising Hall of Achievement’s Class of 2021. These seven incredible people have reset the bar for accomplishments in their careers in Advertising and by giving back to their friends and families, their professions, and making their communities better.

The Advertising Hall of Achievement is our premier event recognizing top young thought leaders making a significant impact on our industry and their communities. The impressive alumni network–each selected by peers in the advertising industry–includes over 200 members who have literally transformed the landscape of advertising, marketing, entertainment and media.

And our American Advertising Awards season kicks off right now with calls to enter your best advertising work from 2021 to be considered for one of the Nation’s most prestigious and rigorous awards competition. Local AAF Clubs will recognize and honor the very best work at their own local American Advertising Awards events typically held in January and February. This celebration helps the AAF deliver on our mission to recognize and celebrate the best creative advertising from all across North America.

The American Advertising Awards is the advertising industry's largest and most representative competition, attracting nearly 35,000 entries every year in local AAF Ad Club competitions. The mission of the American Advertising Awards is to recognize and reward the creative spirit of excellence in the art of advertising.

And when Spring rolls around, so does our focus on our long-standing —now in its 48th year! In 2022 we will be working with our NSAC Partner—Oculus—on developing campaigns and programs for Quest 2 headsets which combine AR, VR and the ability to Play, Create and Explore.

There is no better way to learn about the advertising campaign process than by actually developing a campaign for a real client. Each year, a corporate sponsor (client) provides an assignment or case study outlining the history of its product and current challenge. The case study reflects a real-world marketing challenge. Students must research the product and its competition, identify potential problem areas and devise a completely integrated campaign for the client. Each student team then "pitches" its campaign to a panel of judges. Judging is conducted by professionals in the advertising, marketing and communications industry. Judges at the national level are selected from the client and their advertising agencies.

The AAF’s National Student Advertising Competition is the premier college advertising competition that provides more than 2,000 college students the real-world experience of creating a strategic advertising/marketing/media campaign for a corporate client. 

As you can see, there is no “off season” for the AAF. There’s very little “seasonality” to what we do and how we go about it. The work never ends!  We are always focused on what’s just ahead and prepping for the next season of change. And while seasons may change – the AAF remains consistent in delivering on our mission to be “The Unifying Voice for Advertising.” 


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 Posted: September 2021