Pioneers of Screen Advertising

Almost from the dawn of film, advertising was a part of the filmgoing experience. This collection showcases some of screen advertising's earliest steps, as companies learnt to mimic the evolving forms of film comedy, drama, documentary and animation with the careful addition of their product as co-star.

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The Spirit of His ForefathersThe Spirit of His Forefathers

Advert19001 minsSilent

One of the earliest surviving British adverts

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Rudge-Whitworth - Britain's Best BicycleRudge-Whitworth - Britain's Best Bicycle

Advert19021 minsSilent

A gentleman cyclist learns the error of his ways in one of the earliest surviving British film advertisements.

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Vinolia SoapVinolia Soap

Advert18981 minsSilent

One of the earliest films showing off a brand: three women pack Vinolia soap into boxes

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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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Trojan Car AdvertTrojan Car Advert

Advert192610 minsSilent Location: York

There's no need to renew your socks with the Trojan Utility Car - you simply can't afford not to have one!

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Mr.........Goes MotoringMr.........Goes Motoring

Advert19253 minsSilent

Deceptively simple early animated ad for Shell petrol

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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.

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The Tale of the Amp LionThe Tale of the Amp Lion

Advert19252 minsSilent

Silent cartoon advert that is an actual Heath Robinson contraption.

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The Boy Who Wanted to Make PicturesThe Boy Who Wanted to Make Pictures

Advert19244 minsSilent

Kodak pocket cameras provide the perfect substitute for a budding portrait artist in this early advert based on the drawings of Harold Bateman.

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Bradford Adverts Reel 3Bradford Adverts Reel 3

Advert4 minsSilent Location: Bradford

No wearisome overblown advertising for cinema-goers back in 1931, just straightforward advice: don’t risk accidents and “Don’t buy a dud!”

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Bradford Adverts Reel 1Bradford Adverts Reel 1

Advert19253 minsSilent Location: Bradford

Juno-Junipah, for girls, who “want to be bright, vivacious, attractive and slim”, and Carters Little Liver Pills to rejuvenate the elderly.

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Bradford Adverts Reel 2Bradford Adverts Reel 2

Advert1 minsSilent Location: Bradford

Without trying to be too clever, these advertisements demonstrate the virtue of the uncomplicated: short, sweet and memorable.

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Looking AheadLooking Ahead

Advert19302 minsSilent

Behold the future! Where meals are consumed in pill form, and hankies are washed on television

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Does Your Wife Know?Does Your Wife Know?

Documentary19304 minsSilent Location: Kingston Upon Thames

A vicar gets railroaded on the cheap in this silent cinema ad for Southern Railways.

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Ransomes Trolley BusesRansomes Trolley Buses

Promotional19296 minsSilent Location: Maidstone

A study of single and double decker trolley buses, constructed by Ransomes, Sims and Jefferies of Ipswich.

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Barbara's SecretBarbara's Secret

Advert192311 minsSilent Location: Devon

Lifebuoy Soap holds the key to love and happiness in a coastal Devon village

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Transporting Loads - With or without RoadsTransporting Loads - With or without Roads

Advert19205 minsSilent

Global ambitions for the Thornycroft six-wheeled motor vehicle.

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Sound AdviceSound Advice

Advert19317 mins

Worst. Advice. Ever. An early cinema ad for tobacco.

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The EconomistThe Economist

Advert192113 minsSilent

Silent comedian Walter Forde takes an illuminating trip around the Osram light bulb factory in this bizarre advertising film.