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5/8/1897: The First Important Message

Sadly, it was only a matter of time before the birth of film was followed by the birth of filmed advertisements, and the first advert to be lodged for copyright at the Library of Congress (on the 5th August) was filmed by William Heise at Edison’s Black Maria studio.   The 25-second film was called Admiral Cigarette, and features a cross-section of men, including an Indian Chief and an Uncle Sam look-alike, sitting in front of a banner for Admiral Cigarettes.   As the men chat animatedly, a young woman bursts out of a box on the left of the stage and doles out cigarettes to the men before spilling dozens over the floor.   The men then unfurl a banner which proclaims: “We All Smoke”.  

It has to be said this wasn’t exactly subtle stuff, but it was effective enough to help spawn the worldwide multi-billion advertising industry we have today. [ADD]

You can see the film here.




USA: 1896-1900



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