MEMPHIS BUSINESS JOURNAL | MICHELLE CORBET
The club’s student relations have expanded to the University of Memphis, Memphis College of Art and Arkansas State University over the past year, and the club has it’s sights on Christian Brother’s University, Rhodes College and LeMoyne-Owen College as well.
As of last week, AAF Memphis’ headquarters is now located in the journalism department at the UofM, where new AAF Memphis executive director Nikii Richey will be based.
Having AAF Memphis based at the UofM will provide a resource for advertising students to get involved in the local advertising industry.
President emeritus Andrea Wiley is joining the UofM as an adjunct professor teaching intro to advertising this fall.
Wiley believes the partnership with the University of Memphis will be mutually beneficial for years to come, yielding interns and entry-level positions for students and agencies.
“Let’s not just get them excited about advertising, but advertising in Memphis,” Wiley said.
“That day we put together a plan that would change a stagnant organization that no longer represented the creative community it was supposed to lead,” Wiley said. “We decided to turn the organization upside down.”
Analyzing its membership roster, AAF Memphis realized it had lost the participation of the creative community with the exception of the ADDYs.
To reengage the creative community, Huston, Loyd and Wiley met with key leadership in the local creative scene and made a plea for support, introducing company membership, so multiple employees could have membership benefits.
With that new membership option, the club made a promise to deliver more value through better speakers at interesting geographical locations and more opportunities for agencies to get credit for their creative work.
The AAF Memphis events team began alternating luncheons to various Memphis-centric locations such as FedExForum, Loflin Yard, Tennessee Brewery, Amurica, New Daisy and Lafayette’s, among others.
Each lunch is themed with the speaker, venue, creative and sponsor all working together to create a cohesive experience.
“Just as the advertising industry is constantly evolving, it was important for AAF Memphis to evolve as well — to be relevant for our creative community,” Wiley said
Over the past three years and the many changes, AAF Memphis has been able to grow revenue and increase attendance.
“Our events are now relative and compelling and often sell out with an average attendance of 218, which is an increase of over 300 percent in just three years,” Wiley said.
This year 11 agencies donated their talent and time to promote AAF Memphis events.
“Through negotiation, partnership, synergy, great creative and a whole lot of hard work we’ve been able to present top-notch speakers at unique locations to inspire the local creative community and elevate what it means to be a member of AAF Memphis,” Wiley said.
That hard work was validated when AAF Memphis won first place recognition for programming at the AAF National Club Achievement Competition, not once but two years in a row. This year, AAF Memphis has increased membership by 17 percent, and since introducing company membership three years ago, increased membership by more than 60 percent.
The 49th annual AAF Memphis American Advertising Awards received 742 ADDY entries, leading to 120 awards given at the ceremony that was attended by more than 500 advertising professionals.
Of the local winners, seven agencies brought home 23 district-level ADDYs, and earlier this month, Jason Prater of Farmhouse accepted 10 national awards in Anaheim, California.
2016 - 2017 officers and board members include:
- President: Cynthia Saatkamp, Hemline
- 1st VP: Jen Swearingen, Elvis Presley Enterprises
- 2nd VP: Amy Hughes, Entercom
- Reuben Brunson, RocketFuel
- Ben Fant, Farmhouse
- Grace Fong, Skyline Exhibits
- Shaina Guttman, Archer Malmo
- Martha Hample, Archer Malmo
- Liza Routh, Inferno
- Cecilia Walker, Walker & Associates
- Jeff Klayman, WREG
- Jerry Plunk, ODEN
- Michael Carpenter, Loaded for Bear
- Zach Smith, Red Deluxe
- Andrea Wiley, DCA, Immediate Past President