Professional International Advertising Organizations

IN an effort to raise its profile to the level of other advertising trade groups, the International Advertising Association announced a management reorganization on Friday that will bring the group its first full-time professional leadership.

The association named Norman Vale, who was until January managing director of Grey International, to be its first director general. Richard Corner, a former executive at Ogilvy & Mather and the Philip Morris Companies in Europe, who has been the association's acting executive director since November, will serve as executive director of the organization.

The association, which is based in New York, represents marketers, ad agencies and communications companies in 77 countries. But unlike the leading American advertising trade organizations, which have long had full-time senior managers to oversee operations and serve as industry spokesmen, the international association has vested much of its operational authority in a part-time president elected from the ranks of senior corporate or agency management.

Members say the president's responsibility to his regular job has hindered efforts to build the organization.

''With Norman Vale, we can take a lot of the weight off the shoulders of the elected president,'' said Clay S. Timon, the head of worldwide advertising for the Colgate-Palmolive Company and the association's current president. He drew an analogy between Mr. Vale's new role and that of the head of the American Association of Advertising Agencies. ''Like John O'Toole of the 4A's, he is the man to be called on to be truly a spokesman,'' Mr. Timon said. ''As elected president, I was not good at that, because I work for Colgate.''

The association's decision to enhance its management comes at a crucial time for the advertising industry around the world. The scheduled elimination of trade barriers in Western Europe in 1992 and the development of market economies in Eastern Europe are flooding that continent with advertisers, agencies and media companies. Likewise, the development of Asian economies continues to draw increasing advertiser interest.

But, particularly in Western Europe, the pending opening of borders is also inciting a drive among some governments to regulate the content of advertising. The French Government, for example, has proposed banning tobacco advertising and the sponsorship of events by tobacco companies, and restricting the advertising of alcoholic beverages. While concerns for public health are behind some of the legislative efforts, the association executives contend that some Governments see advertising restrictions as a way to protect their own established industries, many of which are state-owned, from competition from foreign companies once the trade barriers fall.

The association's leaders say that with professional, centralized management, their organization can wage a fight against regulation by conducting and disseminating research on the effect of advertising restrictions in the countries that have enacted them.

''More critical than simply providing information,'' said Mr. Vale, who is 60 years old, ''we can and should become the world resource for assisting governments and people in the communications business to protect freedom of commercial speech.''

The new managers also say the association can act more effectively as a clearinghouse for information that will help member companies expand their operations globally. As an example, Mr. Corner, 56, noted that the association had recently helped a British newspaper find an advertising sales representative in the United States.

These two sides to global marketing - expansion and censorship -will be the main topics at the association's biannual convention, which is scheduled to be held in Hamburg, West Germany, from June 10 to 13.

Photo: Norman Vale, who was named director-general of the International Advertising Association.