Since 1983, the Advertising Educational Foundation (aef.com) has served as a connective bridge within the advertising, marketing and academic communities. By advancing understanding of the role of advertising and marketing in society and the world, it has sought to engage teachers, inspire students and actively involve industry leaders in higher education. Through seminars, class lectures, visiting professor programs and on-line publications and access to industry thought leadership, the AEF has been at the scholastic forefront of the marketing communications field.
In 2015, the AEF and the highly respected Association of National Advertisers (ANA) joined forces as the AEF officially became the ANA’s educational foundation. Both parties recognized that uniting the AEF with the ANA would significantly elevate the value of both brands. The challenge was how to structure the brand relationship visually and verbally to leverage existing brand equities while celebrating the power of their new alliance. It was particularly important to preserve the AEF’s critical status as an independent, non-profit academic service.
HA Roth Consulting (HARC) was asked to first recommend a formal name change for the AEF. After reviewing logical (and aspirational) options, The Advertising Educational Foundation agreed to become The ANA Educational Foundation, clearly establishing the new relationship without depleting the equity and relevance of the “AEF” brand name.
Moving beyond the verbal connection, HARC explored visual and color equities of both brands and recommended the then current AEF wordmark (originally created by Landor Associates) should not change its shape but could be modified to reflect its new emergence as the ANA’s educational foundation. After an extensive color study, HARC recommended a solution that graphically and elegantly depicted the evolution of the AEF and ANA relationship.
The new brand modifications were enthusiastically received by both ANA and AEF boards and was quickly extended across all communications materials, including their new website. It had accomplished its challenging goal of preserving the existing equities of the AEF brand while clearly communicating its exciting new relationship with the ANA.
A New Challenge
One of the AEF’s core activities is to serve as a highly credible platform for thought leadership in the marketing communications industry. Among the most important vehicles delivering on that commitment has long been the Advertising & Society Review, in partnership with Duke and Johns Hopkins universities. As AEF was rethinking its overall mission, branding and applications, they determined to upgrade the A&SR as well, beginning with a name change: it would now be called the The Advertising & Society Quarterly or “ASQ,” a digital compendium of articles, white papers and relevant thought leadership concerning the marketing and communications field.
The former A&SR mark had grown a bit stale and was not working effectively in today’s digital environment, so HARC recommended a new word mark, based on its new name, to reflect its academic heritage while referencing its connection with the AEF.
The final mark uses the same typographic treatment as its AEF parent in the descriptor, spelling out the full name of the on-line publication. The blue color is the “AEF” blue, from its refreshed branding palette. Yet the distinctive typography in the wordmark for “ASQ” conveys a classic serif-type academic feel while being thoroughly contemporary in style. Strategically smart and visually sophisticated– just like the ASQ and the AEF!