The Advertising Club of Cincinnati will celebrate its centennial in 2004, starting with the 100th anniversary of its first meeting Jan. 27. Started as "an organization of advertising men," the club charted the progression of one of Cincinnati's charter industries. Since then, it has been instrumental in developing not only local advertising professionals, but institutions such as the Better Business Bureau. Judy Thompson, a business development specialist at Loren/Allan/Odioso and the Ad Club's historian, talks about the history of the club and the profession here.
IN 2001, THE AD CLUB helped the United Way create a campaign to help meet its pledge goal. Is that one of the prouder moments in the Ad Club's history?
Absolutely. That was a time when the United Way was looking for some help from the advertising community, and I was fortunate enough to be at that meeting, and I suggested that maybe we could ask the Ad Club. They were like, "What are we going to do now?"... And it worked.
WHY IS THE HISTORY of advertising in Cincinnati something we should celebrate? Why is it a big deal?
It has been a big industry. First of all, we have some of the major advertisers in the world, like Procter & Gamble and all of their brands. But also, this was one of the first markets to start an advertising club. And there aren't a lot of clubs across the country that have celebrated their centennial.
I SAW IN THE HISTORY that you had Ed Sullivan at the 50th anniversary. No David Letterman this time?
Well, we haven't talked about that. I don't think so. Although we decided that we'd make it a yearlong kind of thing. While the actual anniversary is Jan. 27, the celebration will just begin then. We'll have our gala Nov. 20 down at the Museum Center.
WHAT ARE SOME of the more unusual moments in the history of the Ad Club?
I think the fact that we had to cancel a meeting back in 1937 because of the flood. Our history kind of goes along with the history of the community.
OBVIOUSLY THE CELEBRATION is this year, but what does the future of the Ad Club look like?
I think the future is very bright. One of the things that we pride ourselves in is helping advertising and marketing and communications professionals to improve themselves, as well as to bring more students into the advertising profession ... I just think Ad Clubs around the country have been instrumental in helping the economy. I think advertising as a principle of American economics, the free enterprise system, it's all about trying to sell stuff, and the Ad Club has led the way.
- Cliff Peale
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