Friday, July 1 marks the 75th anniversary of the first legal TV commercial: an ad for Bulova watches.
Aired for the first time on July 1, 1941, the spot clocks in at just nine seconds and shows an image of a Bulova watch over an outline of the United States. Convincing, no?
The shaky, black and white commercial — recreated above — was seen by a few thousand people in the New York area when it ran during an afternoon Dodgers-Phillies baseball game on WNBT. Even with well-known announcer Ray Forrest doing the voiceover, it only cost Bulova $4 to make, according to Ad Age.
Commercials have come a long way since then, although the nine-second length seems preferable to some of today’s long, multi-million dollar entries.