As the oldest, continuously active business organization in Oklahoma City, the Ad Club has a rich heritage. Actually formed a few months before statehood, the Ad Club was founded in 1907. Since no other civic clubs had been formed at the time, the Ad Club’s social luncheon meeting format attracted the city’s business leaders and the few advertising professionals in the city.
The original meeting place was a restaurant in the second floor of a building which later became Halliburton store at Main and Hudson. E.K. Gaylord, John A. Brown and other notables attended Club luncheons in the early years. After World War I, the Ad Club moved its meeting location to the historic Huckins Hotel. The hotel had been referred to as the state’s “second capital” since the governor’s office had been located there temporarily.
The roaring 20s brought an element of unethical advertising to the growing city and the Ad Club acted quickly by forming a watchdog committee which later became the Better Business Bureau. This was the beginning of the Club’s public service contributions. Later, the Club sponsored activities to lift the community’s spirits which had been dampened by The Depression. The club also promoted such causes as the Red Cross, United Way, and Safety Council. These efforts were later recognized through the creation of the Distinguished Service and Silver Medal awards which are still conferred annually.
The first excellence in advertising awards took the form of a Direct Mail Advertising competition initiated in 1958. The ADDY awards were instituted about ten years later and subsequently replaced the Direct Mail competition.
In the mid-60s, the Ad Club began scholarships for students majoring in advertising at colleges and universities which offered advertising degrees. Promoting educational opportunities in the field of advertising is now the primary goal of Ad Club.
The Ad Club’s tradition of service to the advertising industry and to the community continues as its members endeavor to reach new heights through education and professional opportunities.