|Date(s):||September 19, 1949|
|Tag(s):||Television, Advertising, Technology, Sports|
|Course:||“Historical Perspectives on Technology,” Widener University|
After World War II, technology and society changed rapidly. New technologies were introduced while other technologies became consumer goods. One such example is the television. From 1948 through 1958, television went from being in only .4 percent of homes to over 80 percent of homes. (Baughman, pg. 42) The “availability of [broadcast] TV service” was the biggest reason for the explosion in television purchases. (Baughman, pg. 42) Society was also going through what is known as the “Baby Boom.”(Baughman, pg. 42) This increased the population of young people and children that were going to be using this technology. Thus, a market for child-focused programming started and was quickly embraced by television programming providers. (Baughman, pg. 42) This new audience sparked brand new types of programming. (Baughman, pg. 42)
International Telephone and Telegraph Company was in the business of producing and selling TV sets.(Duke Digital Collections) In 1949, they purchased an advertisement that ran in the September 19 edition of Time Magazine. (Duke Digital Collections) The advertisement features a quasi-television screen that features a football game with their slogan, “better television for more people.”(Duke Digital Collections) The advertisement also featured a body of text touting the association of IT&T with Capeheart-Farnsworth, especially noting the combined “technical resources” of both companies.(Duke Digital Collections) IT&T was an aggressive player in the international communication and electronics market during this time and its partnership with (and 1951 acquisition of) the struggling Capeheart-Farnsworth company allowed it to enter the budding television market. ("History of International Telephone and Telegraph Corporation") This partnership would “inevitably result” in “better television for more people.
The advertisement was intended to reach the general populace and appeal to all people, not just elites who may have already purchased a TV. In other words, they were appealing to the middle class and used their slogan twice in their advertisement in order to develop a brand identity. In fact, the advertisement featured the quote “A Pledge to the Nation’s Fastest Growing Audience.” (Duke Digital Collections) IT&T wanted to generate sales from the largest segment of the population, the non-elite.
The advertisement referenced recent events in order to appeal to readers. For example, a little over a year before the advertisement ran, the first NFL Championship Game was televised.("1948 NFL Championship Game") The inclusion of a football game “on” the TV in the advertisement was hardly an accident. Instead, it was likely a calculated marketing decision. Only ten years earlier, the first televised sporting event, a Columbia University vs. Princeton baseball game, had been shown. (Koppett, no pg.) Television production companies and marketing executives were cognizant that sports was an important part of television programming and one that would become even more significant in the near future. This advertisement shows how even early TV companies made calculated advertising, research, and business decisions.