World Federation of Advertisers celebrates 60 years


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March 1: The World Federation of Advertisers will celebrate 60 years of championing responsible and effective marketing next week. The organization, founded by Count Metello Rossi di Montelera of Martini Rossi fame, in Stresa, Italy in 1953, will be marking its diamond jubilee with a series of events in its home town of Brussels.

The events will bring together marketers from some of the world's biggest brands as well as national advertiser representatives from around the world, in total representing some 90% of total global marketing spend.

Originally called the International Union of Advertisers Associations (IUAA), the nine founding national advertiser associations from Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, India, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden and Switzerland, committed to champion responsible and ethical marketing and help promote maximum possible effectiveness and efficiency of ad spend for its members. These two major mission statements remain very much central to the DNA of the organization, which was renamed The World Federation of Advertisers in 1984.

To mark this anniversary, WFA will be holding a series of high-profile events in Brussels. The highlight of the week will be the Global Marketer Conference, co-hosted with the Belgian Advertisers Association (Union Belge des Annonceurs) on March 6, which will include presentations from the Global Chief Marketing Officers from Anheuser-Busch InBev, Diageo, Johnson & Johnson, Visa as well as Karel De Gucht, the European Commissioner for Trade.

The theme will be to ask how global brands can achieve growth at a time when many regions of the world are suffering from the global economic downturn and even some emerging markets are less buoyant than they have been.

Other events include:
  • Project Reconnect on March 4; WFA's on-going dialogue with consumers about what forms of marketing are acceptable in the digital age, to be held in the European Parliament. Teenagers from across Europe will share their views with senior marketers on a range of issues, including social networking, online gaming and mobile marketing as well as data collection and privacy.
  • The results of the CMO World Tour on March 5; a global conversation with Chief Marketing Officers from around the world about their personal use of digital technology and platforms and how these experiences have impacted on their business strategies.
  • Google will host a session led by Contagious Magazine on March 7 on the most engaging and innovative strategies over the past year in the digital space, highlighting developments at the intersection of communications, technology and culture.

Stephan Loerke, Managing Director of the WFA, said: “Sixty years ago, a group of visionaries saw the need for a global association to help marketers address common challenges in an increasingly complex and interconnected world. Those common challenges have only become more pressing; reinforcing the WFA's role in bringing marketers together to address today's challenges and identify innovative solutions that will inspire growth.

Key dates in the 60 years of the WFA:

1953: Founded in Stresa, Italy by Count Metello Rossi di Montelera and nine advertiser organisations from Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, India, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden and Switzerland.

1966: Growth in membership accelerates with the national advertiser associations of Ireland, Spain, New Zealand and US joining the 25 countries then in WFA membership.

1984: Membership expanded to include multinational companies. Procter & Gamble is the first corporate member. International Union of Advertiser Associations becomes World Federation of Advertisers (WFA).

1989: WFA starts working closely with the United Nations, UNESCO and the World Health Organisation.

1991: WFA holds its first meeting in Asia and launches a Latin American Network to enable regional marketers to address common issues.

2000: WFA sets up flagship action groups to allow marketers from different countries and companies to take joint positions on common challenges around responsible advertising, media transparency and agency relationships.

2012: WFA opens offices in Mexico and Singapore adding to its existing presence in Brussels and London.

2013: WFA counts 70 corporate members and 55 national associations, spanning 60 markets in total, as members.

Full details of the 60th anniversary celebrations can be found at


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Alastair Ray
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Notes for editors:

The World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) is the voice of marketers worldwide, representing 90% of global marketing communications spend – roughly US$700 billion per annum – through a unique, global network of the world's biggest markets and biggest marketers. WFA's champions responsible and effective marketing communications worldwide. More information at

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