I have been doing research on our early television advertising in England for the Coca-Cola Great Britain heritage blog I write. It was really interesting to note the differences with the US and England TV ads and networks. While I have blogged about it before, in the US, Coca-Cola began advertising on television on Thanksgiving Day in 1950 on the Edgar Bergen Charlie McCarthy television special. Our second ad was sponsoring the Christmas Day Walt Disney broadcast One Hour in Wonderland. With both of these shows, Coca-Cola was the main sponsor and the ads were built into the narrative of the programs. In England, while the BBC did not allow advertising, the Television Act of 1954 allowed the establishment of the Independent Television Network. The first non BBC programming went on air in September 1955. One of the concerns during the passage of the Television Act was that the commercials be easily distinguishable from the programs. Coca-Cola was quick to launch a series of commercials featuring celebrities of the day including racer Stirling Moss; footballer John Charles; TV hostess Mary Malcolm; comedian Tommy Trinder; and cricketer Alec Bedser We only have one of the first six ads in our Archives. The spot above featured Australian ballroom dancing champions, Alf Davies and Julie Reaby. We have this first ad because the Coca-Cola England country manager at the time was so excited about his first commercial, he mailed a copy of the film to be shown in Atlanta. I wish he had sent the other five!
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