AAF Buffalo is a local chapter of the American Advertising Federation, the nation’s oldest and most recognized organization in the advertising industry.
With over 300 professional, student and corporate members, AAF Buffalo strives to bridge the gap between passions, occupations and experience levels to create a single unified community that provides national industry involvement with a local focus.
AAF Buffalo offers a variety of events and initiatives year-round, including national speakers, member-only Skillshops, networking events, student scholarship programs, the American Advertising Awards and much more.
Sometime in the early 1960s, a marketing club called Professional Communicators of Western New York was formed in Buffalo. Not much later, another club called the Art Director’s Guild was founded.
The first club was for account executives (or suits) and other marketing pros. The latter club was for art directors and designers.
The first club became known informally as ProCom. The other club eventually expanded its mission to include copywriters and others from the creative side of the business and officially changed its name to Art Directors/Communicators of Buffalo, or ADCB.
This two-club system persisted into the 1990s, with the clubs acting at times as friendly rivals, at times as cut-throat competitors. But the drawbacks of having two clubs became obvious as the Buffalo market shrank — two clubs to join, two boards of directors to staff with volunteers, and most important, two awards shows to run every year.
The first step toward détente was a 1995 agreement to merge the award shows. Each club contributed a show chairperson (Dom Cimei from ADCB and Maureen Oaklan from ProCom) and split the expenses and effort. The first joint show was a huge success, with record numbers of entries and attendance.
After that, the two clubs continued to produce a single annual awards show and explored other avenues for cooperation, including jointly sponsoring major events with nationally recognized speakers from the ad biz.
In 1999, the ADCB board of directors authorized club president Blair Boone to approach ProCom for merger talks. The ProCom board agreed to talk. After lengthy negotiations, in 2000 the advertising clubs started the new millennium with a blockbuster merger and a new club named (in a nod to erstwhile Buffalo ad executive Alex Osborn, a founder of BBDO and originator of the brainstorming creative process) Brainstorm.
Brainstorm continued on with Joe Lojacano at the helm as President, who later went on to serve as Lieutenant Governor for the Northeast Region of AAF. During his tenure as Lieutenant Governor, he came to notice that Buffalo was “out of sync” with the other AAF member clubs. In 2007, Joe suggested and strongly encouraged the board, and then president Matt Steinberg, to change the name to Advertising Club of Buffalo to be more attuned to the rest of the AAF contingent.
It helped to brand the organization as the group from Buffalo, as opposed to someplace, wherever, and it also made the connection to the AAF Awards competition.
The club would continue to grow under the Ad Club name while becoming more and more involved and connected to programs and initiatives led by the district and national American Advertising Federation. However, there was a developing theme that members of the organization were unaware of the affiliation and that they are also a member of AAF’s national network of organizations, which includes a host of resources, connections, and discounts.
In an effort to better align with AAF and its benefits, in July of 2016, the board unanimously approved President Scott Bartels recommendation to rebrand the organization as AAF Buffalo.
AAF Buffalo supports and connects the advertising industry in Western New York.
Through collaboration, education, networking, and events we offer creative thinkers and marketing-savvy minds the opportunity to do more, and get better. Seasoned experts are able to share experiences and keep up with the latest trends. Students are provided access to the resources (and people) they need to get in, and get ahead.
We take pride in our profession, our region, and our work – and we want everyone to know it.
Board of Directors
VP of Communications
Barclay Damon LLP
VP of Programming
Chiampou Travis Besaw & Kershner LLP
The Martin Group
Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus
Buffalo State College