Monday, September 22, 2008


No doubt you social-history-of-media fans have the champagne cooling* already, but -- on this date 53 years ago, British TV saw its first-ever advertisement (viewable above thanks to the miracle of the YouTubez).

This was hardly as casual as it looks in retrospect. U.S. TV's treatment of the recent coronation was still an unpleasant memory for many. As parliamentary debate on allowing a commercially supported channel began, Herbert Morrison called the issue "one of the – if not the – most important debates since the war." Here's John Reith, founding deity of the Beeb: "Somebody introduced Christianity into England and somebody introduced smallpox, bubonic plague and the Black Death. Somebody is minded now to introduce sponsored broadcasting. ... Need we be ashamed of moral values, or of intellectual and ethical objectives? It is these that are here and now at stake."

The ITV forces carried the day, though, and at more or less 8:12 p.m. on Sept. 22, 1955, Gibbs SR Toothpaste made its dent in history.

And on a cheerier note: Happy anniversary, Language Czarina!

* Or the oil boiling. Ad Day is that kind of party.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now has always, follow the money.

7:10 PM, September 22, 2008  

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