Howard Bell, father of advertising self-regulation in the U.S., and the man who led a merger of groups that formed the American Advertising Federation, died at age 91, reports AdAge, which added that “Bell became founding president of the AAF when it was formed in 1967 from the merger of the Advertising Federation of America and the Advertising Association of the West. During his 24 years in the post, he helped establish the American Advertising Awards (Addys) and National Student Advertising Competition. He moved the organization’s headquarters from New York to Washington, D.C., which, along with the organization’s membership spanning marketers and agencies, helped stake its place as the “Unifying Voice for Advertising.”
“Bell also played a central role in creating the New York-based Advertising Self-Regulatory Council, aimed at cleaning up advertising amid attacks by Ralph Nader in 1971. Bell continued to chair the National Advertising Review Board until 2014, helping adjudicate cases on appeal from the National Advertising Bureau of the Council of Better Business Bureaus well into his 80s.
“Upon his retirement from the AAF in 1991, former President George H.W. Bush commended Bell for leadership that “acted upon the axiom that prosperity without purpose means nothing.” He was inducted into the AAF’s Advertising Hall of Fame in 1991 and three years later named one of Advertising Age’s 100 most influential advertising leaders of the 20th century.”