Creative Matters—AAF-Houston, March 2013, Issue 18

Creative Matters

MARCH 2013 Issue 18  

In This Issue...

Message From The Chairman

Dear American Advertising Federation-Houston Members,

Who is your favorite woman in history?  Amelia Earhart, Sally Ride, Frida Kahlo, Wilma Rudolph???

March is Women’s History Month and March 3rd was the 100 year anniversary of the suffragists march on Washington.  The march towards equality and the right to vote was a difficult one for the suffragists.  Their fight was called “an endorsement of nagging as a national policy.”

Well, I don’t mean to nag, but please do not miss our AAF/H March luncheon!! March 20th will be our “Woman Power” Luncheon featuring speaker, Cheryl Pearson-McNeil, Senior Vice President of Public Affairs and Government Relations for Nielsen. Cheryl’s topic is the overwhelming and growing buying power of women in America.  Don’t miss this one! To reserve your luncheon tickets call the AAF/H office at 713-237-9999 or go online to

I will see you at the Junior League of Houston on Wednesday, March 20th. And guys, that means you too!

Best regards,


Camille Bryan

Creative Thought Leader Speaker Series: Cheryl Pearson-McNeil

Click Here To Register



Joint "Open House" Mixer

AAF-H, AD 2 Houston and OiH held a joint “Open House” Mixer to show off our new office space at 2299 White Street. The space has been generously donated by AAF-H Board member Norm Pegram, CEO of Premier IMS, Inc. A fun time was had by all at the tiki bar!

Artist of the Month: Jack Amuny

After graduating from the University of Southwestern Louisiana, Jack Amuny moved to New York City to work in the advertising graphics field. A native of Sulphur, Louisiana, Jack came to Houston in 1965 to work as a free lance graphic designer and established Art City in 1971. Work from the studio has been accepted in the New York Art Directors Show, AIGA Graphic Design USA, Communication Arts, Houston Art Directors Club, Dallas 1 Show, Art Direction’s Creativity, Print America Graphic Design Annual, and American Corporate Identity.

Jack has long been active in supporting and providing graphic work for community organizations in the Bay Area: Clear Lake Area Chamber of Commerce, League City Chamber of Commerce, Bay AreaHoustonConvention and Visitors Bureau, The Arts Alliance Center at Clear Lake, BACODA, Westminster Christian Academy, Bay Area Presbyterian Church, and Gloria Dei.  Jack currently serves on the Board of TAACCL and as an elder at Bay Area Presbyterian Church, PCA. He and his wife, Heather, live in Clear Lake City.

Welcome Our New Intern: Garrett Ruffaner

Garrett Ruffaner is currently a senior at the University of Houston, Jack J. Valenti School of Communication, majoring in Communications with a concentration in Advertising. He is the new intern at AAF-Houston. He is interested in targeted marketing using social media and upcoming technology. Some hobbies include photography and outdoor activities such as running, cycling and swimming.

“With enough creativity, you can change the world. If you can’t dream it, you can’t do it.”

Where Are The Young Creatives?!

Without a doubt, the American Advertising Association-Houston is skewed toward an older crowd. And why shouldn’t it be? AAF-H counts among its members, the founders and owners of Houston’s best advertising, marketing and production companies. Its members are the very people who built the foundations of the advertising industry in Houston. However, for an industry that depends on fresh, creative talent, it’s disappointing there are so few “creatives” at our luncheons and mixers.

By last report, the American Advertising Federation-Houston was the second largest ad club in the nation. With that many members, you would think you could trip over young creative talent at their luncheons and mixers. Unfortunately, that is not the reality.

While access to the advertising giants of Houston is a nice membership perk of AAF-H, most of the regularly attending members are on the business side of the house. There’s nothing wrong with that. I love account executives as much as art directors. Many are my friends and colleagues, but my quest was to find the people in our industry directly linked in a creative capacity to the strategies, production and execution of client projects. Specifically I was looking for, strategists/account planners, copywriters, art directors and creative directors.

I was eager to find more creative peers with whom to share the struggles and triumphs of an intensely competitive industry.  I wanted to find where they work and hang out. More so, I wanted to find out what professional organizations, if any, to which the burgeoning, creative talent in Houston belong.

I began first by asking AAF-H members if I was imagining things. Turns out, I wasn’t. Many members offered comment, but none would agree to be quoted on the reason for this anomaly. One member said, “It’s as if no-one is talking about the elephant in the room.” I wasn’t trying to scoop anything controversial. Nor was I looking for a cause whose banner I could hold up. I merely had an itch to scratch; and frankly, no vested interests to prevent me from exploring or speaking my mind.

Next I attended and spoke with people at other professional organizations, such as the American Marketing Association Houston and the Houston Interactive Marketing Association. I did not visit or speak with organizations whose sole existence is for creative people, such as the Art Directors Club Houston or the American Institute of Graphic Arts Houston.

What I found is that AAF-H is not alone. While the membership of many of these organizations swelled recently due to economic conditions and perceived networking opportunities, the elusive creative class was not well represented. HiMA definitely had more of the “younger” crowd, but not necessarily more creative professionals. I believe this is in large part due to the rise and focus on the digital domain in the last decade, not on any one thing their organization does better than us at attracting a younger audience.

Maybe you thought Ad 2 Houston, a “young” professionals group under the age of 32, and sister organization to AAF-H, must be keeping all these young creatives to themselves. Alas, it’s not the case! In fact, their numbers have dwindled and filling board positions has become problematic.

I began thinking, “Maybe creatives are just a spry and elusive group of people, who much rather hang out with their own kind, rather than the business minds who keep the projects coming in the door.” “Maybe it’s the Internet!” So I asked the more experienced copywriters, art directors and creative directors directly, “Where are the young creatives?”

Their Answer:
They're gone! They don’t belong to some other professional organization of which you’re not a member. They left the risk adverse and decidedly un-creative business climate of Houston to pursue opportunities elsewhere. They’re chasing their dreams in New York or California. They’re off to portfolio school to hone their skills before landing a job in a less conservative city. The ones that remain…  A select few will find jobs at agencies. Some will move into marketing. The rest will change professions. If you want to attract the existing creatives in Houston to your organization, then truly celebrate great creative work. Not just once a year at the ADDY Awards show. The advertising community in Houston needs more than a crappy website and newsletter boring the faces off its members once a month. There needs to be more discussion and publicity amongst us around our work, projects large and small. One thing niche professional organizations do better than broader professional organizations, is create higher levels of member engagement.

I love to read your thoughts. In email, of course, not your mind. Email me at

Jonah B Sanders

Jonah B Sanders

©American Advertising Federation-Houston, 2013. All Rights reserved.

Jonah Sanders
(713) 471-7519
Author: Jonah Sanders
Phone: (713) 471-7519
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