Historical Advertising Study: Television

Television technology has been evolving and the industry has been growing for decades. The advertisements have also changed to fit with the demands of the consumers. The following advertisements were published through different mediums over a decade, showing the growth of the development of the television and the various features that became the subject of concern.

The first advertisement is for Du Mont Telesets and it’s headline is ‘Get the most out of your life… with TELEVISION’. The next title is ‘Get the most out of Television… with DU MONT’, which indirectly advertises the company as the tool to get the best out of life. It was published in a newspaper, the New York Herald Tribune, in 1946, which was a decade after televisions began to be sold commercially. The advertisement is black and white, and the word TELEVISION is written in a big bold letters across the top which will instantly grab the reader’s attention. The background of the page is pictures of television programs and a living room with a television set. There are multiple pictures of dancers and sports, which indicates that those were the predominant leisure activities of that period. There is a picture of a ship, which caters to the male population. The sports attract males and the dancers attract females or couples, hence engaging both genders. The photo of the living room promotes television as a family or social activity and sends a message that it can be integrated into the reader’s lifestyle. There is also a small text box in the centre of the page highlighting the attractions of the product, using words such as “thrills”, “pleasure” and “biggest events”. The bottom of the page has the week’s television highlights under broad categories such as Sports, Drama, Variety and Comedy, which cover programs that will draw people from various backgrounds and ages in. The ad makes assumptions about the type of activities that interest the target audience and that the customers come from a high enough socio-economic background to afford this luxury. The visual imagery is powerful and the most eye-catching words/phrases proclaim the potential effect of the product on the customers. Since it is in a newspaper, it reaches a target audience of a wide range but assumes that educated people want to buy a television.

The second advertisement was published in 1952 in a magazine called Better Homes and Gardens. Since it is published in a magazine which advertises ways to ‘better’ consumers’ homes, it indicates that a television can improve a home. A home and improvement magazine would probably be bought by a woman. The title is ‘The “sandman” was forgotten… the picture stayed clear and steady’. The sandman was a mythical character who brings good dreams by sprinkling magical sand onto eyes of people as they sleep. It was predominant in European folklore, indicating that the target audience was Europeans. There is a large photo of a family watching a tv which is wrapped like a present with a bow with a christmas tree. The mother, father, son and daughter are all smiling and appear to be enjoying the program. This highlights that the television can provide entertainment for all ages and genders. The mother and father are dressed well and the price and range of television models indicates that it could be bought by consumers from a range of socioeconomic backgrounds with a variety of needs. Since the family is having fun together, it markets family life. Christmas is associated with grand gifts and merriment, making this television present even more wonderful. The seal of the company is largely printed in the middle of the ad. The ad says that ‘your dealer’ is ‘waiting for your call’, making it personalized. Words such as “restrained simplicity”, “owners proudly recommend” and “friendly charm” make it more enticing and polished. The ad focuses on the quality of the pictures remaining clear for a long period of time, which could have been the main problem faced by consumers.

The third advertisement was published in 1956 on a billboard. This targets people who drive, which could range from any socioeconomic background. This ad emphasizes clarity and has a picture of a cat reacting to a picture of a dog on the television, showing that it has life like clarity. This ad only says “You can see it BETTER on a CROSLEY TV” because it is meant for people who are moving fast and hence do not have time to read a long description. It is meant ot have maximum amount of impact with the smallest number of words. This ad does not target younger consumers who cannot drive yet, but could be strategically placed around shops to attract people who do not drive.

Both, the newspaper and magazine advertisements, promoted togetherness either socially or as a family and showed that the television could be integrated into daily life. The focus of the three ads was different; the first one emphasized life improvement through a television set, the second one pointed out longevity and the third one stressed on image clarity. This follows the trend of technological advancements. At first the television needed to be introduced to the market, after which problems such as the deterioration of pictures needed to be addressed and finally the clarity was refined and is still evolving with new technology such as Blu Ray and HD being released.


Allen B. DuMont Laboratories, Inc. “Get the most out of life… with Television”. Advertisement. New York Herald Tribune. 1946. Duke Digital Collections. Web 1 Dec. 2014.


Sentinel Radio Corporation. “The “sandman” was forgotten… the picture stayed clear and steady!”. Advertisement. Better Homes and Gardens. 1952. Duke Digital Collections. Web 1 Dec. 2014.


Crosely. “You can see it Better on a Crosley TV”. Advertisement. 1956. Duke Digital Collections. Web 1 Dec. 2014.



2 thoughts on “Historical Advertising Study: Television

  1. The author of this historical advertisement study did well in taking into account the many aspects of each of these television advertisements. In the first advertisement, it is clear that the font and size of the words as well as the types of images depicted all served a pupose in attracting customers, and the author describes these well. When analyzing the last advertisement that the author reviewed, I noticed the font and strategic placement of TV-shaped shapes around the advertisement’s dialog, and the word “better”. I feel that the author could have explained his strategy of advertisement, and why the company thought this might me an advantageous method of propaganda.


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