The AdViews database from the John W. Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising & Marketing History in Duke University’s Special Collection Library has been online for several years and offers researchers access to “thousands” of television commercials from the 1950s-1980s that were “collected or created” by Benton & Bowles or its successor, D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles (DMB&B).
The database has value to many types of researchers (history, media, pop culture, art, graphic design, etc.) and is also fun (yes, fun) to search/browse around when you have some spare time.
You can now access the AdViews database in three places.
First, direct from the Hartman Center at Duke University.
Second, in the past few days the Internet Archive has become a new location to access AdViews.
One thing we like about the Internet Archive interface is the ability to browse though a list of sub-collections organized by company or product listed on a single page. The Hartman Center version also has browsing options so you might to consider using both interfaces. Regardless of which interface(s) you use browsing only provides a only a portion of what the database holds. Of course, it’s possible to search the database and everything can be downloaded for offline use.
Third, a small collection of commercials from the AdViews database are available on iTunes.
An image database of over 7,000 advertisements printed in U.S. and Canadian newspapers and magazines between 1911 and 1955.
- Emergence of Advertising in America
A database of over 9,000 advertising items and publications (1850 – 1920), illustrating the rise of consumer culture, and the birth of a professionalized advertising industry.
- Medicine and Madison Avenue
A database of over 600 health-related advertisements printed between 1911 and 1958, as well as 35 selected historical documents relating to health-related advertising.
- ROAD: Resource of Outdoor Advertising Descriptions
A database of over 50,000 descriptions of images of outdoor advertising dating from the 1920s through the 1990s, pulled from four outdoor advertising collections including the Outdoor Advertising Association of America (OAAA). No images are available from this website.
One more? The Internet Archive is home to two additional collections of tv commercials.
- Commercials from the Prelinger Collection (42 TV Spots)
- Nearly 300 Commercials and Public Service Announcement in the Classic Television Commercials Collection