The Library of Congress collections of television commercials
are primarily intended for viewing in our reading room by patrons
working on research projects. The majority of our television
advertising holdings are searchable through the Internet. Finding
aids to three of our largest commercial collections, the Karr,
Dartmouth College, and Robert Gitt gifts, can be accessed online.
Copies of commercials received as copyright deposits can be searched
in the Library of Congress Online Catalog. The titles of the
commercials begin with the generic term, "[Television commercial]," and
continue with the name of the product or sponsor and, in some
cases, the title of the commercial, if known. The following is
an example of a title in the Online Catalog: "[Television
commercialQuaker State motor oil]. Father and son." Commercials
included in the body of television programs are identified in
the notes field of our cataloging records. Identify these advertisements
by searching "commercials" combined with the name of
the product or sponsor, such as Greyhound or Scott Paper. Currently,
our Coca-Cola Collection is not searchable online, contact the
reference staff for further information.
In most cases, requests for copies should be negotiated directly
with the advertisers or agencies. Except for our Coca-Cola Collection,
we do not have contact information for manufacturer or advertising
agency archives. (Patrons seeking to obtain a Coke commercial should
contact our reference staff with a detailed description of the
advertisement. We will check our holdings to identify the commercial
and then refer you to the Coca-Cola Archive to request a copy.)
Although in theory some of the television commercials in our
holdings are available for purchase, the process of actually
acquiring a copy, whether for profit use or not, is extremely
time-consuming and costly, so much so that it usually represents
an insurmountable obstacle. More precisely, you would need to
identify the rights holder(s), both in terms of copyright and
brand/trademark, and obtain the owner's written permission before
we could proceed with making a copy. Even if permission is obtained,
the duplication costs are often prohibitive. Our holdings of
TV commercials primarily consist of unique copies that have not
been preserved (i.e. no negatives or master positives have been
made), and it is up to the customer placing the order to cover
the full cost of generating these preservation elements for the
If you are unable to obtain a copy directly from the advertiser
or agency, below are some possible alternatives:
Provides streaming video of television commercials mostly from the 1990's to
the present. There is currently no charge for viewing. Users can browse by
company, product, category, actor/actress, and event. Requires either RealPlayer
or QuickTime to view commercials. Site does not sell, buy or trade commercials.
Site created for the international advertising community and people interested
in advertising in general. Claims that their online database includes over
7000 television ads in their commercial archive. Offers several types of membership
plans, please see web site for more details. This site also sponsors the Claymore
Project- Superbowl Commercials Archive, 1989-present. Requires QuickTime to
view commercials and the site does not sell, buy or trade clips or commercials.
Provides access to streaming video and information about music videos, movie
trailers, television commercials, and short films. Each entry in the database
contains background information about the commercial, however, the information
provided can be submitted and updated by anyone. The majority of entries do
not have a streaming video link and information about each entry is limited.
The browse function allows you to view all items in the database or only items
that provide video. The ClipPro service subscription based section provides
information on production and post-production companies, magazines, advertising
organizations, TV stations, and music video awards. The User Center gives an
okay explanation on how to use the site.
This site is useful if you know what product or company you are looking for.
There are a number of VHS compilations for sale.
This site allows you to search a number of stock footage libraries and archives
at the same time through the use of their Global Search function. Clicking
on any one of the search results listed will link you to the archive or library
that has that particular commercial.
This site is a collection of mostly recent television commercials. There are
many different categories to search through including TOP 10 OF ALL TIME, MOST
POPULAR, and BANNED. This site does not sell, buy or trade commercials.
INTERNET MOVING IMAGES
Provides access to the Prelinger Archive of over 1,200 "ephemeral" (advertising,
educational, industrial, and amateur) films made from 1927 through the present.
Holdings include compilations of classic television commercials 1948-1969.
See FAQ's for information on reuse and software requirements.
This site, created and maintained by Edward Saturday, features commercials,
promos, and theme songs from the 60's, 70's, and 80's. The site is divided
into three sections: ADVERTISING ARCHIVE, CHILDREN'S TV ARCHIVE, and PRIMETIME
TV ARCHIVE. RealPlayer is required to view commercials and service is provided
free of charge.
This site provides access to television shows and commercials from the 1950's
- 1980's. There is a fee to access the full moving image database and the site
does not sell, buy, or trade commercials. Links are provided to the Columbia
House web site for the purchase of television shows. Please see web site for
USATVADS.NET/ AMERICA TV AD
HISTORY & SHOWCASE
Provides access to a large library of television commercials. This company
has been collecting commercials since 1975. There is a per visit fee to access
the site and charges for duplicating materials apply (the older the material,
the more it costs to copy). The site does not specifically say industry business
only, but the cost of duplication may deter general public.
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
1408 West Gregory Drive
Urbana, IL 61801
Phone (217) 333-0798
Fax (217) 333-2214
The Advertising Council Archives, administered by the University of Illinois
Archives since 1986, documents the story of public service advertising since
the early days of World War II. Onsite access to the collection is restricted
to legitimate research purposes only. All duplication of material is governed
by archive guidelines.
220 Fifth Ave.
New York, NY 10001
Phone: (212) 683-4300
Fax: (212) 683-4796
Clio is the world's largest advertising awards competition, and one of the
most prestigious in the international advertising and business communities.
Begun in 1959, Clio recognizes advertising excellence worldwide in the areas
of TV, Print, Outdoor, Radio, Integrated Media, Design, Internet, and Student
work. CLIO offers a number of items for sale, including a special 40th Anniversary
Reel, with over 100 commercials drawn from the rich, four decades of Clio.
If you are ordering from an ad club, please contact Clio Awards directly for
special pricing information at 212-683-4300. If you ordering from a school,
please contact Films for the Humanities & Sciences at 800-257-5126 or www.films.com.
LONDON INTERNATIONAL ADVERTISING
New York Office
141-07 20th Avenue
Whitestone, NY 11357
Library of television commercials. Compilation videotapes available to advertising
professionals and academic institutions. Website provides list of compilation
tapes, including "Directors - from Commercials to Feature Films," "U.S.
Golden Oldies," and "International Golden Oldies." For additional
titles, see University of California at Berkeley
Media Resources Center website.
MACDONALD & ASSOCIATES
5660 N. Jersey Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60659-3694
Phone: (773) 267-9899
Fax: (773) 267-7796
Company has footage of politics, medicine, sports, family life, travel, newsreels,
animated cartoons, musical performance, war, popular culture, television, radio,
advertising, etc. Will only service valid research requests.
MUSEUM OF TELEVISION AND RADIO
25 West 52nd Street
New York, NY 10019
Phone: (212) 621-660
Fax: (212) 621-6715
465 North Beverly Drive
Beverly Hils, CA 90210
Phone: (310) 786-1000
Museum contains 40,000 television and radio programs, many of which are available
for viewing by the public through a computerized catalog. Research
facilities are available.
POLITICAL COMMUNICATION CENTER & JULIAN
P. KANTER POLITICAL COMMERCIAL ARCHIVE
610 Elm Avenue
Norman, Ok 73019
Phone: (405) 325-3114
Fax: (405) 325-1566
This archive is home to approximately 70,000 spots dating back to 1936 for
radio and 1950 for television and representing candidates for offices ranging
from the U.S. Presidency to school boards throughout the United States. On
site access to collection is by appointment only. The archive will consider
loaning material only for research purposes and under strict guidelines. If
you are creating a published work, you must obtain permission from original
copyright holder prior to duplication. Please contact the archive for further
PRODUCERS LIBRARY SERVICES
10832 Chandler Boulevard
North Hollywood, CA 91601
(818) 752-9097 Fax (818) 752-9196
Provides services to the public and there may be a charge for research. Also
there is a charge for duplication, please call for prices.
P.O. Box 3125
Chatsworth, CA 91313-3125
Fax: (818) 701-0560
Voice Line Order Desk: (800) Shokus-1
This company provides a catalog of VINTAGE TELEVISION VIDEOS AND DVDs. Items
in the catalog include comedies, dramas, variety shows, westerns, etc from
the 1950's- 1960's. Video compilation copies are available for purchase, please
see web site.
UCLA FILM AND TELEVISION
Archive Research and Study Center
46 Powell Library
fax: (310) 206-5392
UCLA collections include an estimated 10,000 television commercials, spanning
from 1948 to the 1980s. Ads for virtually all types of consumer goods and services
are represented. Among the holdings are classic i.d. characters such as the
Ajax White Knight and Charmin's Mr. Whipple, as well as such classic campaigns
as Parkay's "It's Not Nice to Fool Mother Nature" and Coca Cola's "I'd
Like to Teach the World to Sing." Animated spots include "I Wish
I Were an Oscar Meyer Wiener" and "Ruffles Have Ridges." Visit
the website for further information on access to the collections.
UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA
Media Resources Center
phone: (510) 642-8197
Lists numerous compilation videotapes of classic and current commercials available
for viewing at the Media Resources Center. Consult with a local librarian to
determine whether individual tapes listed are available in your library system.
WPA FILM LIBRARY
16101 S. 108th Avenue
Orland Park, IL 60467
Phone: (708) 460-0555
Toll free: (800) 777-2223
Fax: (708) 460-0187
Stock footage library whose material includes news, documentaries, commercials,
etc. You can search this archive on their website or through FOOTAGE.NET.
Large newsgroup dedicated to discussing topics and issues related to television
commercials. Postings to newsgroup not always relevant.
Yahoo!Group site that serves the advertising community and those interested
in the field.