The advertising industry now had more power than ever before. More people were buying a television for the home and TV advertising had a meteoric rise as, one by one, the commercial channels launched throughout the decade. Print advertising didn’t suffer either, with magazines galore aimed at different consumer groups, all targeted accordingly by the advertisers.
Hollywood stars were still utilised to promote products along with unknown faces. Sometimes the unknown face used in TV commercials went on to become a household name. Illustrations were also still used in adverts, as was paragraphs of text explaining the virtues of using that product.
Advertisers in the 1950s often focused on a family feel, with a wholesome or moralistic view to their adverts.
Until about 1958, most television broadcasts were live, including advertisements, and most programming was in black and white. Colour programming was available from 1953, albeit limited, but it wouldn’t be until the 1960s that colour TV sets became more affordable.
In the late 1950s in the UK, the Admag sprung up – an advertising magazine programme which was broadcast in the guise of an actual TV programme. The ordinary viewing household could now be entertained while parting with their new-found disposable income. Admags were incredibly popular, until they were banned by Parliament in 1963. Spoilsports!
Maybelline commercial from 1956:
A live advert for Revlon’s Snow Peach lipstick and nail polish from 1956: