Today’s Wonder Why Wednesday comes compliments of my grandfather. Recently, he and I were talking about his work in advertising for a women’s department store. He was telling me a story of when they decided to run their first television advertisement, when he asked, “I wonder what the first ever TV commercial was.”
Let’s find out…
What Was The First Ever TV Commercial?
On July 1, 1941, the Brooklyn Dodgers were taking on the Philadelphia Phillies at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn. The game was televised on NBC affiliate WNBT-TV. Before the game began, history was made when TV viewers saw the following 10-second advertisement for Bulova clocks and watches.
Technically TV broadcasting started in the U.S. in 1928, but the FCC didn’t grant commercial licenses to TV stations until May 2, 1941. On July 1st, those licenses went into effect and at 2:29 p.m the Bulova commercial aired.
Roughly 4,000 people saw the birth of commercialized television, which cost Bulova all of $9: $4 for airtime and $5 for station charges.