Celebrating Connection: TV Advertising

Celebrating Connection: TV Advertising

Steve Underwood October 20, 2021

Today we’re launching a celebration of TV adverts that have connected effectively with audiences, since the inception of UK TV advertising back in September 1955. This campaign is part of our 6 month Festival of Connection; a celebration of authentic human connection in business.

TV advertising has evolved significantly over the past 66 years! From the early years of black and white ads to today’s high impact visual and audio, there are so many memorable brand campaigns that have delivered effective storytelling and audience connection.

Over the next couple of weeks we will begin the celebration campaign by focusing on adverts from the first 2 decades; the 50s and 60s and in this first blog article we will mark the campaign launch by delivering a whistle-stop summary of UK TV advertising during this period


1950s and the launch of TV advertising

The first UK TV advert was aired on 22nd September 1955 with the launch of ITV. The first commercial was for Gibbs SR toothpaste and the product’s ‘tingling fresh’ qualities.



The style of adverts during this early period were distinctly clunky, typically with white middle class actors and poorly lit environments. The visuals often encapsulated elements of print advertising, with brands such as Cheerios adapting their print adverts directly to this new advertising medium.



The opportunity to advertise to consumers directly in their own homes had taken on a new direction and although the initial campaigns were only ITV London audiences, a new deeper audience connection opportunity had been born.


1960s and the presenter format

TV advertising in the 1960s evolved into a more consistent format where there was usually a lead presenter in the commercial, talking to the audience about the relevant product being advertised. The presenter was often a well known figure from a popular TV program or theatre production and the advert would often show the individual using the product and sharing thoughts on it’s virtues, sometimes via a demonstration. This advert format was very popular with advertisers as it was low cost, easy to write and deemed effective through it’s direct marketing approach.

There was a plethora of advert messaging during this period that would be unacceptable today, in particular the sexist depiction of men’s and women’s role in society during that period. Here is an example advert from Mothers Pride, where Dusty Springfield represented the mother making breakfast, keeping the men happy before they went to work:



The approach during the 1960s was very much to tell the viewer why they should use the product being advertised; it wasn’t until the 1970s that viewers were invited to share the lifestyle and values of the characters in the commercials. We’ll cover this decade in our next blog article on the campaign, we hope you enjoy the adverts from the 1950s and 1960s in the meantime.

Please follow us on Instagram and TikTok via @bondedagency where we’ll be posting examples of UK TV adverts that have connected effectively with audiences since the inception of UK TV advertising in 1955.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *