L.A. Ad Club, LAAAA Eye Possible Merger

The two well-established but sometimes overlapping organizations that work to advance the interests of the ad community here have begun the process of merging into one umbrella group.

Representatives and members of the Advertising Club of Los Angeles and the Los Angeles Advertising Agencies Association confirmed that a merger proposal is being discussed, but stressed that any major change will have to win approval from the boards of directors of both groups. Some said a potential stumbling block could be the differing agendas of the two groups.

The ad club, which was formed in 1912, represents individuals involved in advertising, including client executives. The LAAAA, formed in 1947, has the actual ad agencies as its members and collects dues based on the number of employees at each member shop.

“A proposal to create a new organization has been introduced, and it is something that will be considered,” said Joe Hartnett, chief integrated marketing officer for The Phelps Group and president of the LAAAA.

“In the past there has been some overlap in terms of fundraising and event planning,” said Hartnett. “If [the two groups] combine efforts, there could be some benefits for the members of each. But the challenge for any type of new organization would be to serve both missions.”

Pam McNeely, svp of group media at Dailey & Associates and president of the ad club, stressed that talks are in their early stages. “We are trying to make sure our organization is serving the needs of its members, and as part of that effort there have been preliminary discussions about the possibility of creating a new type of organization,” she said.

The groups already share administrative resources. Carol Golden, president of Golden Management, serves as executive director of the LAAAA and senior adviser of the ad club. She referred questions to the presidents of the two groups.