AAF Baltimore History

The American Advertising Federation of Baltimore (AAFB) traces its roots back to 1918, originally established as the women’s auxiliary to the men’s Advertising Club. In 1920, the women formed their own organization, naming it the Women’s Advertising Club of Baltimore. It was affiliated with the Associated Advertising Clubs of the World, the predecessor to the modern-day American Advertising Federation.

Through the 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s the club advocated vigorously for Truth in Advertising campaigns and the creation of a College Scholarship Foundation. In 1973, the Women’s Advertising Club pioneered a merger with two other Baltimore advertising groups, The Art Director’s Club and the Maryland Industrial Marketers, becoming the Advertising Association of Baltimore. Its doors were open to all.

In 1974 the AAB began its “Best in Baltimore” American Advertising Awards program for outstanding creativity in advertising. The American Advertising Awards program was – and continues to be – among the strongest in the country. In 1983 the AAFB earned “Club of the Year” recognition from the AAF.

While the name’s changed over the course of nearly a century, the club’s consistently weathered the tumult of the times. Depressions and recessions. World wars. Civil rights.

In 2009, the AAFB membership voted to change the club’s name from the Advertising Association of Baltimore to the American Advertising Federation Baltimore, cementing its connection to the American Advertising Federation. However, its mission to serve the professional community and to promote excellence in regional and national advertising continues.

Our Mission

  • Promote and support Baltimore’s thriving advertising community.

  • Respond to the needs of our members through educational and informational programs, networking and social opportunities, and legislative advocacy.