What The First Commercial Ever Shown On American TV Looked Like

Aug 2, 2013

Television's First Commercial Broadcast In 1941
Credit Bulova 1941

On July 1, 1941, The Brooklyn Dodgers were playing the Philadelphia Phillies at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn, and the game was being broadcast on WNBT (later to become WNBC).  

Before the game began, TV viewers saw this: a 10-second advertisement for Bulova clocks and watches. You can watch a recreation of the commercial below:

Credit TheWatchGuy.com

The ad showed clock and a map of the United States, with a voice-over that said, “America runs on Bulova time.” Earlier in 1941, the FCC had approved paid for commercials to be broadcast on TV. 

For better or for worse, the TV industry had changed from offering programs to viewers to offering eye balls to corporations. Bulova paid $9 dollars to hawk their product, and commercialized TV was born. 

You can learn more about the history of the Bulova Watch Company here.

Check out more classic TV ads from  the '50s, '60s and '70s below.