The Fabulous 40’s

The fabulous 40’s brought us many things including the baby boom, Billy Holiday, and television. It also brought a new age of advertising. When the majority of American men went off to war, they opened the door for more women and teenagers to have jobs. With more money to spend, women and children strengthened the economy during wartime but also became a new target audience for advertisers. With the invention of refrigerators and the working mother’s absence during dinnertime, frozen dinners were born. These meals were called TV dinners because kids’ dinnertimes were shifted from the dinner table to the television while their mothers worked. Advertising understood this and began to target working mothers trying to offer their children nutritious meals.  Swanson was one of these brands.

Working mothers weren’t the only new target audience. Teenagers were now part of the employed population and had money to spend. Advertisers realized this and began to create commercials to entice the younger generation to purchase their brands.  Between Band-aid ads featuring playful children and animated popcorn ads narrated by “hip” kid’s voices, a new market of advertising was born.

According to, the first paid-for television advertisement in the United States ran on July 1, 1941. It aired during a baseball game between the Brooklyn Dodgers and Philadelphia Phillies. The Bulova ad, which lasted a whole minute, cost only $9.00. That would be extremely cheap in today’s market. According to Skyworks Marketing, today’s ads run between $3000 and $25,000.

Advertising has come a long way since the first Bulova ad. That first simple ad was the beginning of a marketing explosion that continues to grow. We have ads for print, for the Internet, and for everything in between. What will the next generation of marketing and advertising bring us? Hologram images flashing in the sky? Will billboards somehow be customized for the person viewing them? What do you think the next ten years will hold?

– Susan Willetts