Allen Billingsley was a pivotal leader in the development of higher ethical standards in advertising.
Billingsley served as the director of the Advertising Federation of America and as president of the Cleveland Advertising Club for more than two terms.
He was the only chairman of the board of the American Association of Advertising Agencies (AAAA) elected to serve for three terms. He also served as vice president, secretary and chairman of the Cleveland Advertising Club and chairman of the advisory council of the AAAA.
Billingsley helped organize the AAAA committee in improvement of advertising content and served as its first chairman. Under his leadership, the committee originated the Interchange of Opinion on Objectionable Advertising, establishing a fair, voluntary, but effective method for agency self-regulation of advertising.
Billingsley was on the first board of directors of the War Advertising Council, helping to shape the course of its activities. He later served as a director of its successor organization, the Ad Council. He was also the director of the Committee on Consumer Relations in Advertising.
Billingsley lived his philosophy, that "We who have hitched our wagons to advertising want it to measure up to every proper public responsibility. We want it to be an efficient selling tool, but we want it to be a tool that commands respect and that reflects social responsibility."
He set an example for advertising leaders by devoting himself to many civic and community causes, as chairman of the Cleveland Chamber of Commerce, president of the Cleveland Better Business Bureau and in his many business directorships.
His advertising career covered a 40-year span. Following his graduation from DePauw University, he went to work for the Sidener and Van Riper Agency, joining Fuller & Smith & Ross Inc. in 1923. He became its president in 1929.