Over the past few years, I’ve taken the Boise Advertising Federation to task a number of times, but I’ve also given them what I’d consider to be a number of free passes. In this case, it’s the former.
From the BAF website:
The Boise Advertising Federation is the professional development organization for advertising professional in the Boise metro area.
Now, from the Boise Advertising Federation’s Articles of Incorporation:
The purpose or purposes for which the corporation is organized is to provide an educational and fraternal organization for the betterment of the field of advertising. To increase the understanding of advertising and its role among public life. To provide fellowship and culture among persons of the advertising profession.
So, my first question to the current board of the Boise Advertising Federation: What are you doing to provide an educational and fraternal organization for the betterment of the field of advertising? The guest speakers at the occasional luncheon is a good start, but what about those times in between? Where are the regular updates to the website? The newsletters? The articles that members may find interesting? Shouldn’t that be part of the “betterment of the field of advertising”?
Second question: How are you increasing the understanding of advertising and its role among public life? There may very well be some outstanding educational programs happening, but unless people know about them, their effectiveness is severely limited. Now granted, I know that the golf tournament last fall raised some money for the Boise State University and University of Idaho advertising clubs, but is that really enough? How often does someone from the Ad Fed go speak to those clubs? How often are those club members invited to events hosted and/or sponsored by the Boise Ad Fed?
Third question: Fellowship and culture among persons of the advertising profession? Now once again I’ll give credit to the occasional luncheon or social event as an opportunity for those in the advertising profession to get together, but is that really enough?
Fourth question: Why isn’t the Idaho Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America more involved with the Boise Ad Fed, or vice versa? Shouldn’t those same public relations professionals that are part of the PRSA be involved in the BAF also?
Now, should you think that this entire post is an attack on the Boise Ad Fed, it isn’t. It is just as much the responsibility of the members to get involved in the activities of the organization. That being said, however, the BAF has made it very difficult for anyone who may want to get involved to actually do so. On the current website, which has been under construction for god only knows how long now, there is no way for a potential member or interested party to learn more about the group, other than a phone number and an email address, that based on past experience, rarely gets checked.
Have I ever tried to call the phone number? No. What’s the incentive to do so? To try and get involved with a group that doesn’t seem to be doing much, given the outward appearance of their site?
Now, let’s look at it from another point of view — that of the prospective talent thinking about moving to Boise. If I were in their shoes, I’d be extremely leery about considering moving to Boise. Again, given the outward appearance of the organization on the website, it doesn’t seem that there’s anything worth moving to Boise for.
And what about a client looking to hire a Boise agency? Given the fact that the Boise Advertising Federation is supposed to represent the advertising profession, I’d imagine that a potential client would be incredibly put off by the way that the profession is represented locally, and instead would be inclined to look outside of the market to areas such as San Francisco, Portland or Seattle for an agency that can provide the services that they need.
At the end of the day, the Boise Ad Fed should be bringing greater visibility locally, regionally and nationally to the talent that this market has to offer. And there is quite a bit of talent in this market. Instead, though, it seems that the only purpose as of late is to serve as the gatekeeper to any regional or national ADDY awards shows. If you want to enter on a regional or national level, you must enter locally first.
I’m not alone in these concerns about the BAF. I’ve received comments from others expressing many of these same concerns. And again, my intention is not to lay blame on the organization, or lash out at them publicly. But these are valid concerns, and they’re being expressed by BAF members.
So, my challenge to you, the reader, is this:
If you’re a member of the Boise Ad Fed, get more involved. Call up the current President and ask what the group has been up to. Attend an event. Ask for more frequent email updates. Poke and prod the leadership into action, if need be.
If you’re an officer of the Boise Ad Fed, don’t wait for your members to poke and prod you into action. Be proactive. Send out updates on the Rockie Awards, brag about work that members, and member agencies have done recently. Get more people involved. Make the Boise Advertising Federation, and the website in particular, into the hub of activity that it deserves to be.
Also, be sure to take a look at Bart Cleveland’s take on advertising organizations over at the Ad Age Small Agency Diary.
And of course, everyone is welcome to tell me that I’m wrong, right, or just completely full of shit. Comment away.