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History of PAF
PAF has a long history of “firsts.” Founded in 1906, it was the first advertising club in the United States. Originally named the Portland Advertising Club, it was formed to continue the momentum from Oregon’s hugely successful 1905 Lewis and Clark Expo. Membership represented a cross section of business and professional leaders. Portland resident and luxury retailer Chas F. Berg was one of the club’s founders.
In its drive for responsible business practices, in 1916-17, the club led the nation by founding the Better Business Bureau – another first of its kind in this country.
In the 1940s and '50s, the club narrowed its focus to serve just the advertising industry. In 1957, the Rosey Awards were launched, honoring the best in Oregon advertising design. Since then, this competition has grown in national stature and the work it spotlights rivals any creative advertising competition in the country. It’s not unusual for a Rosey winner to go on to win other high profile awards, such as the prestigious One Show.
In the 1960s, the advertising industry experienced a paradigm shift as agencies morphed away from the “grey flannel” model of previous decades. Agency heads began seeking out the best talent they could find, which was usually young, sharp, and often certifiably insane. In1966 the Oregon Junior Advertising Club – now known as Ad2 – was spun off from PAF, giving under-30 pros and aspiring pros their own place for networking, education and leadership.
Education is one of PAF’s traditions and the club has worked in a variety of ways to bring the basics of advertising to teachers and students alike. During the 1970s and ‘80s, "Advertising for School People" seminars were delivered to teachers. In 1984, PAF created an advertising curriculum for high school educators.
In recent years, compelling, educational and thought-provoking event programs have become central to PAF’s role in the community. Here are just a few visiting speakers that it has brought to Portland in recent years:
- John F. Kennedy, Jr.
- Malcolm Gladwell, author of The Tipping Point
- Chris Riley, Head of Planning, Graphic Design Group, Apple Computer, Inc.
- Jameel Spence, President, Blue Flame Marketing & Advertising
- Neal Stewart, Brand Manager, Pabst Blue Ribbon
- Andrew Keller, VP/Executive Creative Director, Crispin, Porter and Bogusky
- Kevin Carroll, brand evangelist and ESPN show host
- John Butler, Principal, Butler Shine Stern & Partners, author of Converse Brand Democracy
- Joey Carson, CEO, reality TV pioneers Buni-Murray Productions
As it enters the 21st century, PAF is expanding its base to include not just ad agency members, but also professionals in media, interactive communication and client-side marketing. By constantly refreshing its role, PAF lives up to its mission to keep Portland’s creative community relevant and vigorous. Who knows what the next 100 years will bring?
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