The First Commercials: A History of Advertising

Television advertisement has been around for decades and they’ve effectively helped businesses thrive for as long as they’ve been around. Advertising is defined as a form of communication intended to spread awareness about products and services with the intention of persuading consumers to choose that specific brand.

When we talk about television advertisements, we’re talking about television programs that are produced and paid for by advertisements from specific organizations that are trying to spread the word about their product or service. Throughout the 78 years that television advertisement has been around, it has proven to help brands grow indefinitely. As years go on, the value of television ads have risen throughout the years; a single, 30-second advertisement on the Super Bowl today costs upwards of three million dollars.

Video production companies today still utilize some classic television ad techniques and combine them with current techniques to create engaging content, and today we’re going to take a look at the first commercial that was ever aired and go over the history of television commercials.

The First Ever Commercial

The first commercial aired in the United States on July 1st of 1941 — the watch manufacturer, Bulova, not only aired in the state first but also first around the world. The commercial was 10-seconds long and featured a clock on top of a map of the United States with the brand’s name visible. The commercial used a voice-over to state that “America runs on Bulova.” This advertisement was aired on NBC (known as WNBT-TV back then) right before a baseball game between the Philadelphia Phillies and the Brooklyn Dodgers.

The Growth of Television Ads

Soon after the Bulova advertisement, other brands began to create their own commercials. Companies like the Pan American World Airways and Botany Worsted Mills started to invest in video production companies to create advertisements. Interestingly enough, the number of television sets in the U.S. increased significantly during the 40s, and by the end of this decade, the number of companies that chose to advertise on television was also growing exponentially.

With the flourishing of the advertising market, the American Association of Advertising Agencies was formed to regulate TV advertisements.

The Creation of Commercial Breaks

Today, video production companies are familiar with how commercial breaks work, but this form of advertising was brand new in the 1960s. At this time, one to two-minute advertising slots were introduced, and they were played during TV shows. This marketing technique was most efficient because long-television programs retained audience attention effectively, and companies such as Tide and Crest capitalized on this.

During an hour-long television program, nine to 10 minutes were reserved for advertisements.

After the launch of local cable TV, small companies began to reap the benefits of television advertising — this was perhaps the most important moment in advertising history. TV advertising has had a significant impact on how brands and businesses market themselves, and video production companies throughout the ages have managed to keep up with the industry’s evolution.

If your business is in need of a video production company to help get your name out, make sure to give us a call here at Fusion 360 Studios.

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