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HISTORY OF TV ADS


Resource Center » History of TV Ads

The very first television ad appeared on July 1, 1941 during a baseball game on a local New York channel. The 10-second ad advertised Bulova watches and cost a mere four dollars; it completely revolutionized television! Due to the overwhelming success of the Bulova advertisement, other companies began to realize that they needed to jump on board with their marketing as well. Businesses like Gimbel’s Department Store, Pan American World Airways, Firestone Tire, and Botany Worsted Mills advertised on television shortly thereafter. By 1948, many additional advertisers were using television spots to reach the large audience that owned television sets. Television's spreading popularity merited the formation of the American Association of Advertising Agencies to regulate commercials. Television was so popular during that era that even the movie studios feared that television would dominate all other media!

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The 1950s also brought about significant changes in television advertising. More advertising options became available and companies gained opportunities to sponsor entire programs that showcased their products. Kraft, Colgate, and General Electric were only a few of the companies that took advantage of this trend and sponsored their own shows. Networks began charging more money for these spots, which led to even more changes in the later decades.

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In the 1960s, an executive at NBC revolutionized the television industry by creating a new type of advertisement. He suggested using 1-2 minute spots during television breaks (now known as the commercials of present-day). This was a much more cost-effective way of reaching the masses, and many companies like Tide and Crest seized the opportunity. An hour-long program typically had 9 minutes of advertising, with most commercials lasting 30-60 seconds.

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The 1970s opened with the banning of cigarette ads on television. Networks opposed the change because the cigarette companies were a major source of ad revenue, but the ban held. To bring in more advertising money, the networks switched to alcohol companies. The 1970s era also brought about some catchy jingles like Dr. Pepper's "I’m a Pepper, You’re a Pepper".

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In the 1980s, television advertising targeted new consumers—children. Advertisements during Saturday morning cartoons were popular, as were shows based on kids' toys (like G.I. Joe and My Little Pony). Commercials also went big budget by hiring major directors to create ads, such as Ridley Scott’s ad for Apple Computers.

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By the 1990s there were major changes in television advertising. The typical hour-long program contained up to 19 minutes of advertising space! The development of TiVo caused controversy because of its commercial-skipping capabilities, and advertisers began to vie for viewers' attention by hiring popular actors and characters to star in commercials.

Advertising continues to grow and change. The advent of television on the internet has allowed networks to continue their advertising online. Even though commercials have become shorter and more expensive, they have also become more interesting.

Article By Bubba
Bubba

Bubba is the Quality Logo Products mascot. He may have started out as "just a stress ball," but he's come a long way since the company's launch in 2003. Bubba has been immortalized in numerous vector artwork designs for internal and external promotions, and you can see him change outfits on the Quality Logo Products homepage whenever a holiday rolls around. Oh, and he thinks pants are for the birds. You can connect with Bubba on Google+.

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