The CLEVELAND ADVERTISING CLUB, now the Cleveland Advertising Association, was organized in 1901 for the study of all matters related to advertising, to advance the public image of advertising as a positive force in business, to promote Cleveland as an advertising center, and to advance the civic, cultural, and business interests of Greater Cleveland. Membership is open to all in good standing in the community who are interested in promoting the club's purposes. The initial meetings of the CAC took place at the Forest City House and the Williamson Bldg., when few businesses and manufacturers employed advertising in a systematic manner. From its inception, the club continually promoted credibility in advertising. Formed in 1908, the club's Vigilance Committee encouraged truth in advertising and good business ethics by monitoring careless and deceptive advertising. Renamed the Fair Practices Committee, it expanded its activities, eventually evolving into the Better Business Bureau. Recognizing the need for skilled people, the Analad (analyzing advertising) Div. was formed in 1915 to offer courses in advertising. In 1919 the program was expanded, creating the School of Advertising. In 1950 the school began offering courses in constructive public relations. The club launched the "Advertise Cleveland" movement in 1920 to help Cleveland know itself, and the outside world know Cleveland. The "Come to Cleveland" Committee contributed to bringing about the GREAT LAKES EXPOSITION in 1936. In 1975 the club dedicated its Advertising Hall of Fame, which conducts annual inductions. It also sponsors the annual "ADDY" awards for the best local ads, winners of which advance to regional and national competition.
In the 1990s, the Cleveland Advertising Association continued its efforts to improve Cleveland's advertising community. In 1996, the CAA partnered with the Better Business Bureau to establish the Local Advertising Review Program, which was designed to promote truthfulness and accuracy among the city's advertisements. The CAA also worked to strengthen Cleveland's position within the advertising industry nationwide by trying to attract more new business to Cleveland-area agencies. One of the largest and oldest advertising associations in the country, in 2003 the CAA had over 650 members and maintained its headquarters at 20325 Center Ridge Road.