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What Is the Purpose of Television Commercials?

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A December 2009 A2/M2 Three Screen Report from the Nielsen Company found that "In 3Q09 (3rd quarter of 2009), the average American watched 31 hours of TV per week." Despite the popularity of the Internet, television remains the nation's preferred source of media and advertising's most important platform.


Quality Logo Products reports, "The very first television ad appeared on July 1, 1941 during a baseball game on a local New York channel. The 10-second ad advertised Bulova watches and cost a mere four dollars."

Time Frame

In the 1960s, a one-hour program contained 30-second or 60-second ads that totaled nine minutes of advertising. Ad space for sale steadily increased until the 1990s when hour-long programs supported an astounding 19 minutes of commercials.


In 1978, Donald Gunn, creative director for the Leo Burnett advertising agency, categorized ads into 12 types that hold true today. They include the demo, the problem, symbolize the problem, symbolize the benefit, comparison, exemplary story, benefit causes story, testimonial, ongoing character or celebrity, associated user imagery, unique personality property and finally parody or borrowed format.


Television ads reach targeted audiences in an effort to sell consumers products. Creative, imaginative and engaging ads inspire, excite, convey information and generate brand loyalty. Ads personalize the relationship between a business and a consumer.


Advertising is undeniably influential. According to the website TV Cafe, "Such has become the power of advertisement that even a politician cannot assure his success in an election campaign if he hasn’t advertised on television."


Well-crafted television commercials require artistry and good storytelling. According to Gaebler.com, "Good television advertising combines action, motion and intrigue to attract attention and sustain interest."

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