Mr. Bell was president of the AAF at its formation, although his intense interest in self-regulation dates to his years as director of the National Association of Broadcasters' code authority in the '50s and '60s. Thirty-plus years ago, well before tobacco advertising departed the airwaves, he vigorously urged code amendments to forbid cigarette pitches that appealed to young people, foreshadowing a debate that rages to this day in the print realm.
Although Mr. Bell has never wavered in his dedication to the principle of advertising self-regulation, he has by no means been a Johnny-one-note.
During his NAB years, he attacked the problems of TV ad clutter and derogatory advertising, in many cases finding himself at odds with other advertising and marketing organizations.
As AAF president, he balanced his self-regulation ardor with equal determination to help protect advertising and marketing from unwarranted government incursions. He also presided over AAF's lobbying efforts and the growth and prospering of its college and university chapters.
Howard Bell never ran an ad agency or managed a company's marketing department, but no one is more deserving of membership in the Hall of Fame.