INTERNATIONAL: AAAA opens doors to independent PR firms

NEW YORK: The Association of American Advertising Agencies (AAAA) is opening its doors to independent PR firms for the first time in its 81-year history.

NEW YORK: The Association of American Advertising Agencies (AAAA)

is opening its doors to independent PR firms for the first time in its

81-year history.



The New York-based AAAA has previously only opened membership to

non-advertising firms if they were owned by advertising groups. Young

and Rubicam-owned Burson-Marsteller, Grey Advertising-owned GCI Group,

WPP-owned Hill and Knowlton and Omnicom-owned sister agencies Porter

Novelli and Ketchum and are all members.



From now on, any PR firm with a US office can join if it has been

operating for over two years and is ethically and financially sound.

Edelman PR Worldwide and Ruder Finn are both considering applying since

the membership rules were relaxed.



The AAAA is also allowing independent corporate identity, media buying

and sales promotion agencies to apply for membership.



AAAA president/CEO Burtch Drake said: ’Today’s advertising agencies are

no longer, if they ever were, just creating advertisements and placing

media. They’re providing clients with a variety of marketing

communications services. Free-standing firms in these disciplines are

now being serviced by the AAAA due to their ownership by current

members. But the previous membership criteria prevented similar

organisations which were not owned by an agency or a holding company

from joining the AAAA.’



The association says it is not trying to compete with the year-old

Association of PR Firms which now boasts 58 members. Its focus will

remain on representing and servicing advertising agencies. The

association is expected to form a new service division around its PR

agency members.



The AAAA provides management, media and legal advice to its members as

well as information and insurance services. It also lobbies for the

advertising industry in Washington DC.



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