During her tenure as 2018-19 American Advertising Federation of Baton Rouge immediate past president, our account executive, Theresa Thao Kumse, also served as government relations chair for the state of Louisiana. The purpose of the government relations committee is to educate our members and the community about the impact the advertising industry has on our local economy through grassroots efforts. We do this by keeping an eye on news, regulations, and laws that may negatively affect our industry; and to be prepared to defend the industry should a service tax comes on the ballot.
As the state representative for Louisiana, Theresa attended AAF’s National Advertising Day on the Hill where advertising professionals from around the country learned about the key issues facing the industry and “take to the halls of Congress” to educate lawmakers about the vital role advertising plays in the U.S. economy. However, in true ad lady form, she and her committee launched a mini awareness campaign to excite and educate the community about the purpose of her trip.
Her committee branded the campaign “AAF-BR Goes to D.C.” and developed shareable graphics, an informational landing page, as well as a fun video all to make members “take action” by taking a survey. The campaign was shared through social media and professional networks. Additionally, the video launched at the local American Advertising Awards gala where there were over 400 captive viewers. The survey asked members if their business faced any regulatory challenges that our committee could help address with our representatives.
The National Day on the Hill was an exciting opportunity to learn about hot industry topics such as privacy policies and protection by the Digital Advertising Alliance and a deeper look into how the Federal Trade Commission regulates false advertising. Then there were breakout sessions to review the specific stats and figures pertaining to each state. Advertising expenditures account for $88.6 billion of economic output or sales in Louisiana, which is 15.1% of the $585.3 billion in total economic output in the State. Sales of products and services that are driven by advertising help support 282,360 jobs, representing 14% of the two million jobs in Louisiana.
After the briefings, Theresa met with the teams of Senator Bill Cassidy, Senator John Kennedy, and Congressman Garret Graves. It was a valuable experience for everyone involved and participants left with a newfound understanding of the impact we have on consumers and the economy.