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Television Commercials

“I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing”

Download a sample list of available titles and additional research resources at UCLA in PDF format.

“I can’t believe I ate the whole thing.”

“You’ve come a long way, baby.”

“Where’s the beef?”

“I’ve fallen, and I can’t get up!”

Television advertising occupies a central position in the landscape of consumer culture. Advertisers commit major resources to finding out how the purchase of a product could fulfill consumer needs and desires—desires which may or may not have anything to do with the product’s purpose. While advertising’s immediate goal may be the promotion of a specific item, its legacy is a standard of values and behavior that have transformed advertising copy into idiomatic expression

UCLA Film & Television Archive includes an estimated 10,000 television commercials, spanning from 1948 to the present. Ads for virtually all types of consumer goods and services are represented. Among the holdings are spots featuring once omnipresent i.d. characters such as the Ajax White Knight and Charmin’s Mr. Whipple, and classic campaigns, including Chiffon’s “It’s Not Nice to Fool Mother Nature” and Coca Cola’s “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing.”

Animated commercials include work by animation pioneer John Hubley and controversial spots featuring the “Frito Bandito.” Other commercials feature celebrities endorsing products (Football’s Joe Namath for Noxzema Shaving Cream) and spokespersons who later became celebrities (actress Diane Keaton for Hour After Hour Deodorant). Public service announcements (PSAs) include Ad Council spots covering a range of topics such as fire prevention, traffic safety, the Peace Corps and many others.

To arrange onsite research viewing access, please contact the Archive Research and Study Center (ARSC).

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