A televisions advertisement , also known as TV commercial, commercial ad, ad or an advert, is a span of television time produced and paid for by an organization. Advertisements are typically used to convey a message usually to market a product or service. Revenue generated from advertisements provides a major portion of the funding for most privately owned television networks. Majority of television advertisements today consist of brief spots but they can range in length from a few seconds to several minutes. Advertisements of this sort have been used to promote a wide variety of goods, services and ideas since the beginning of television.
July 1, 1941 was the day when the first legal TV commercial was aired in the US at 2:29 PM before a baseball game between the Brooklyn Dodgers and Philadelphia Phillies. It was a shaky 10 second spot for Bulova. Bulova is a watch and jewelry company founded in New York 66 years before. In the commercial, WNBT test pattern was modified to look like a clock with the hands showing the time. The Bulova logo, with the phrase "Bulova Watch Time", was shown in the lower right-hand quadrant of the test pattern while the second hand swept around the dial for one minute. The Slogan was already read in print or heard on radio by many americans. Bulova also broadcast the first national radio commercial in 1926 with a similar tagline: "At the tone, it's eight o'clock, B-U-L-O-V-A Watch Time."
It was a commercial the company says was seen by "millions." Bulova's first TV ad didn't reached as many people because of the fact that the FCC didn't grant commercial licenses to TV stations until MAt 2, 1941 and those licenses went into effect on July 1. According to a spokesperson of Bulova, The Commercial wasn't filmed at all. It was just a graphic and the live voice over. When asked why the did it, Spokesperson added that its because we took pride in being a pioneer in marketing. The commercial at best has reached only a few thousand people. Only 4000 TV sets has been installed in New York at that also contributed to this fact. According to American Heritage magazine, the spot cost Bulova $4 for airtime and $5 for station charges.
The first TV ad broadcast in the UK was on ITV on 22 September 1955, advertising Gibbs SR toothpaste. The first TV ad broadcast in Asia, advertised Seikosha (now Seiko), which also displayed a clock with the current time, was on Nippon Television in Tokyo on August 28, 1953.