Cinema Advertising Comes of Age

The 1930s saw screen advertising find its voice. That wasn't just down to the arrival of the 'talkies', but to the increasing professionalism of ad agencies and production companies. 

Through WWII and the postwar austerity years and into the 'never had it so good' 1950s - when it had to compete with the new commercial television service - cinema advertising offered a bigger bang for your advertising buck.

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Symphony in Colour (Persil Advert)Symphony in Colour (Persil Advert)

Advert19425 mins

Super soft-sell Persil ad, in the guise of a lush Technicolor essay on colour itself.

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Music Hath CharmsMusic Hath Charms

Advert19354 mins

Pratfalls galore in rib-tickling commercial for Bush radios.

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The Warning (Gibbs S.R. Toothpaste)The Warning (Gibbs S.R. Toothpaste)

Advert19415 mins

An amazingly complex cinema ad, disguised as a trailer for a film that never existed

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Every Man His Own Housewife (Persil Advert)Every Man His Own Housewife (Persil Advert)

Advert19403 minsSilent

This propaganda advert encourages housewives to use Persil, the powder that gives “longer life to your linens”.

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Let's Ask the LadiesLet's Ask the Ladies

Musical193723 mins

A Co-op window dresser dreams of his mannequins coming to life in this musical fashion fantasy.

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Murder in the AirMurder in the Air

Advert19354 minsSilent

“There is nothing you can beat about the Bush”: the wireless wows in this stylish ad for Bush Radio.

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Bee Wise!Bee Wise!

Advert19465 minsSilent

Pun-filled cartoon cinema ad for radios

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Sketchbook of Fashion (Knights Castile Advert)Sketchbook of Fashion (Knights Castile Advert)

Advert19402 mins

The key word in the book of fashion is simplicity

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Aladdin and the Junior GenieAladdin and the Junior Genie

Advert19425 mins

Washing day keeping you from a spin on your flying carpet? This quality cinema features a young apprentice genie learning a helpful solution.

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Signs of the Times No.3Signs of the Times No.3

Cinemagazine19505 minsSilent

“The magazine of the screen” takes an advertorial approach, mixing advertising films with entertaining news stories.

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Fable of the FabricsFable of the Fabrics

Advert19426 mins

"Gee, old age!" Malicious Father Time doesn't stand a chance against a cartoon cupid armed with a big box of washing powder.

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It all Depends Which Way You Look at It (Solidox Advert)It all Depends Which Way You Look at It (Solidox Advert)

Advert19413 mins

Solidox toothpaste is the punchline to a series of questions concerning how things look from various angles.

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Signs of the Times No 196Signs of the Times No 196

19454 minsSilent

Looking for some monkey business, a rush job, or some spurious medical treatments? Look no further!

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Jumble JumbleJumble Jumble

Advert19452 mins Location: York

As the war comes to an end, and with an expectation that an end to food rationing would soon follow, why not indulge in a chocolate treat?

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A Thief in the NightA Thief in the Night

Advert19305 minsSilent

Inspector Fife quizzes Rogers the burglar, and sets a trap with the aid of Persil’s whiter-washing powers.

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Change for the BetterChange for the Better

Advert19492 mins

An ageing bobby learns about the Co-op divvy in this gorgeous puppet animation narrated by Stanley Holloway.

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Little Miss Muddlehead (Rinso Advert)Little Miss Muddlehead (Rinso Advert)

Advert19432 mins

Use Rinso and help defeat Hitler! The soap brand deploys some savvy wartime advertising.

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What's Missing from this Picture?What's Missing from this Picture?

Advert19461 minsSilent

Life is looking up! The war is over and the “Corona” Man can visit his “Corona” families once more, door-to-door.

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Ace of ClubsAce of Clubs

Cinemagazine19578 mins Location: Billingham

A celebration of the club that refuses to die a new ICI Synthonia Club building rises from the rubble of a World War Two bomb.

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Signs of the TimesSigns of the Times

Advert19485 mins

The mark of a good magazine is variety - so here are Mars bars, netball and an ageing but fully functioning Fanny.

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Signs of the TimesSigns of the Times

Advert19503 minsSilent

Seeing is believing when you want your whites brilliant white. Old Mother Riley in beautiful Technicolor!

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Mousewife's ChoiceMousewife's Choice

Advert19482 mins

An animated ‘mousewife’ finding a way to ease her washing day woes may not be very progressive, but it's delightfully sweet.

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Mrs Mopp's BirthdayMrs Mopp's Birthday

Advert19422 mins

Humorous WWII public information film and Persil advert rolled into one, starring the popular radio character Mrs Mopp.

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Trawl in ActionTrawl in Action

Government sponsored film195013 minsSilent Location: St Austell Bay

Underwater study film of a trawl in action taken by two Admiralty frogmen cameramen.

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Signs of the Times No.2Signs of the Times No.2

Advert19505 minsSilent

A Technicolor magazine treat with movie stars, make-up and handy hints, promoting popular products of the day.

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Molar MischiefMolar Mischief

Advert19462 minsSilent

Look out, germs at work! These loveable molar mischief making puppets really dig tooth decay.

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Shippam's Guide to OperaShippam's Guide to Opera

Animation & Artists Moving Image19552 mins

Charming fish paste cinema ad

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Andrews Liver Salts: Little AndyAndrews Liver Salts: Little Andy

Advert19571 mins Location: Newcastle upon Tyne

Little Andy takes the speedy way to sparkling good health in a zippy 50s cartoon advertisement for Andrews Liver Salts.

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Put Una Money for TherePut Una Money for There

Animation & Artists Moving Image19563 mins

Barclays advise West African farmers where to keep their money via a catchy song and crisp modern cartoon design.

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Signs of the Times No.58Signs of the Times No.58

Advert19414 mins

A curious blue lake, a wonder tablet, a river boat and a picnic essential - sounds like the beginning of a story!

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Says SirdaniSays Sirdani

Advert19452 mins

“Don’t Be Fright!” A radio magician with a unique approach to the English language cooks with vigour and cleans with Vim.

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Thief in the Night (Persil Advert)Thief in the Night (Persil Advert)

Advert19442 mins

More soap opera than true crime, but this cinema advert is almost as cunning as its onscreen detective.

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Changing HuesChanging Hues

Advert19225 minsSilent

Pretty in Pink 1920s style: an innovatively hand-coloured cinema advert for Twink dye.

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Cinema Commercial - Candy CushionsCinema Commercial - Candy Cushions

Advert19202 minsSilent

Cinema snacks that don’t leave you with sweet nothing when the box is empty.