Our History

The Tucson Advertising Club was founded in May 1945, and over the years has enjoyed an illustrious history. In the 1950's, the club met weekly in the downtown area consisting of advertising professionals from media and ad agencies. Later, the club moved to bi-weekly meetings and met in the Pioneer Hotel. 

The club flourished through the 1960's. For a number of years, luncheon meetings were held each Tuesday at the Pioneer Hotel in downtown Tucson, with nationally known advertising figures providing attendance draw. (Lee Iacocca came from Ford to talk about the Mustang, which was a new product). During these years the club, in cooperation with the Tucson Chamber of Commerce, created and produced the annual Man and Woman of the Year Awards. In the late eighties, the Tucson Chamber of Commerce took over this award recognition event. 

In the 1980's, the club began to participate in the AAF Club Achievement Awards and earned several national recognition awards in programs, membership, education, government relations, communications, diversity and club operations. In 1982, with the impetus of Georgia Lacy, the club undertook the local presentation of the Tucson Tops ADDY Awards®, which was later renamed the Tucson Advertising Federation ADDY Awards®. The ADDY ceremony has grown to one of the finest presentations of advertising excellence in a local club throughout the country. In 1987, the Tucson Ad Club was instrumental in negotiating the repeal of a 2% tax on all advertising placed in the city limits, accounting for thousands of dollars in revenue. 

Throughout the 1990's the club continued to grow and hold monthly meetings, the ADDY Awards® and other educational programs. The Tucson Ad Club changed its name to the Tucson Advertising Federation in 1998 to coincide with the national trends in moving from a "social club" to affiliate with the AAF brand. 

The club has been represented in the American Advertising Federation leadership structure with several members serving as District 12 Governor, including Ed Ackerley, Michael Levy, David Slavin, Rochelle Lang, Mary Dunkel and Executive Director, Pearl Ford-Fyffe. Ed Ackerley also served as Chairman of the American Advertising Federation Council of Governors. In 2008, the club name was changed to American Advertising Federation Tucson to align with the national brand image of the AAF. 

The Federation supports the four local student chapters at The Art Institute of Tucson, Pima Community College, Southwest University of Visual Arts and University of Arizona. During much of the club's history, it held annual Media Auctions to help raise funds for students in advertising. 

In 2000, Tucson Advertising Federation and United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona entered into an agreement for advertising services, including media and production of bi-lingual creative materials. By the fifth year of the agreement, more than $2,500,000 in media donated advertising was generated for the program, and the partnership was renewed for an additional three years. Under the leadership of Michael Bolchalk, the United Way program became an important funding mechanism for the club, supporting a Scholarship Endowment Fund and five annual student scholarships. The campaign materials produced also won several local ADDY Awards®. The Media Partnership program now serves as a model for other AAF clubs across the country.

In 2004, the City of Tucson again proposed the renewal of the tax on advertising. The club rallied its membership, and under President Ray Depa who made a presentation to the Tucson City Council, with assistance from members Jim Rowley, Dave Slavin, Marv Kirchler, Ed Ackerley and others, the proposal was defeated. 

Today, the club flourishes as American Advertising Federation Tucson (AAF Tucson) and celebrates over 70 years in the Old Pueblo, with a membership totaling over 300 between AAF Tucson & Ad2 Tucson, its affiliated group for young ad professionals age 21-32 years, and the Tucson Advertising Federation Educational Foundation, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.

As the "unifying voice of advertising" and local affiliate of the American Advertising Federation based in Washington, D.C., AAF Tucson is the market resource for Recognition of Advertising Excellence, Professional Growth and Leadership, Diversity in Advertising, Professional and Student Education, and Government Relations.