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Jackson Advertising Federation wins district, national honors

Jackson — Last month, the American Advertising Federation (AAF), a Washington, D.C.-based trade association representing 50,000 professionals in the advertising industry, named Jackson Advertising Federation (JAF) National Club of the Year and JAF leader Rachel Crews President of the Year for its district division.

AAF, which has a national network of 210 ad clubs throughout the U.S., also honored JAF for its outstanding accomplishments in club management, government relations, advertising education, public service and cultural diversity.

Of the eight categories AAF honors, JAF was recognized in seven categories on a district level: club management, advertising education, programs, public service, membership, communications and cultural diversity. JAF was also recognized as Division IV Club of the Year and Crews was named President of the Year among Division IV Clubs in the 7th District.

But winning awards represents only a modicum of activity comprising JAF, which was established in 1953.

“The Jackson Advertising Federation serves as the liaison for the advertising industry,” said Crews. “If there is legislation on the forefront that would affect the advertising industry, we are the voice to ensure that the advertising industry gets heard. We also use our network of advertising professionals to offer assistance to area colleges and universities to mentor students who are wanting to make a career of advertising, marketing, or graphic design.”

Last year, JAF awarded its first Kimberly Parker Wolverton scholarships through a new program that will provide an annual contribution to a student who is studying in the field of advertising/graphic design/marketing at a local college or university, said Crews.

“In addition, we use our resources to assist local non-profits with their advertising campaigns, such as the Susan G. Komen Foundation Steel Magnolia Chapter and The Mustard Seed,” she said. “Every member in our federation has a passion for some aspect of the advertising industry and is willing to give back every day.”

Growing strong

Within the last year, JAF has increased its membership by 10%, from 69 to 76, focused on diversity through a new outreach program, and increased overall club participation among its members.

“Because a strong plan was formulated last fiscal year through diverse partnerships that built community awareness, it was simple to build upon the essentials that had been put into place,” said Crews. “When the new board first met, we discussed the important components of a strong club: club management, cultural diversity, advertising education, programs, club membership, governmental relations, communications and public service. The board reviewed the proposed goals and each member was given a board handbook to utilize as their ‘bible’ throughout the upcoming year. As the first icebreaker, we participated in two diversity exercises, which opened the door for ways we could improve our cultural diversity. In addition, board members voted to continue the current public service campaign we adopted last year, the Susan G. Komen Foundation, and accept a new one for the Mustard Seed Inc.”

Last fall, the Steel Magnolia affiliate of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation was awarded more than $107,000 in grants for mammograms, educational materials and treatment to underserved women in 19 Mississippi counties. JAF helped organize a benefit November 6, hosted by Bonefish Grill, which raised more than $12,000. So far, 930 mammograms have been done.

This year, JAF created an informational video, created and designed a flyer for local newspaper insertion and assisted with showcasing a new line of pottery for The Mustard Seed, a non-profit Christian-based organization that encourages growth for mentally challenged adults.

“Response from the insert was well above our expectations,” said Paul Jones, executive director of The Mustard Seed. “Attendance at the open house Bells of Faith performance was standing room only. Sales for the day in the gift shop blew our one-day sales record out of the water … over $10,000 … one-sixth of our annual sales projected. The JAF was integral in showing us the way to expand our presence in the community through professional quality graphic and design work.”

A ‘rewarding’ year

JAF helped the Better Business Bureau (BBB) of Mississippi implement the Truth in Advertising Plan “to restore public confidence in the truth and accuracy of advertising through education and voluntary self-regulation by advertisers,” said Jake Smith, chairman of the Local Advertising Review Council.

“If advertisers are found to be non-compliant, they (are) referred to the council for review and possible further action,” said BBB president and CEO Bill Moak.

Last October, JAF produced the first all-profit golf tournament, which yielded more than $3,000. The club also raised nearly $600 for the Southern Farm Bureau Golf Classic’s Birdies for Charity program.

“This year has been rewarding for the club and personally,” said Crews. “We encouraged local organizations to utilize the knowledge that our club maintains by offering our services for speaking engagements, consulting, hosting educational workshops for colleges and advising on such.

Several of our members assist local higher educational institutions with their graphic design programs, and we’ve also managed to achieve another successful Capital Gains Student Leadership Conference. Attendance increased 10% and new colleges participated. To date, the Jackson Advertising Federation is stronger than ever and continues with the same momentum into the new fiscal year. We could not be more excited about the success of our club.”

Contact MBJ contributing writer Lynne W. Jeter at lwjeter@yahoo.com.


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