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The World's First Advertising Film

| 04.02.2013 |

Did you ever stop and ask yourself, "Hey, what was the first advertising film?" Well, that occurred back in 1897 when Thomas Edison's nascent film production enterprise was tapped by the National Cigarette and Tobacco Company to create a promotional film for its Admiral Cigarettes brand.


During the 1890s, Admiral Cigarettes were heavily marketed via Victorian-style cheesecake advertisements. The "admirals" were shapely showgirls wearing uniforms that were a mix of Napoleonic naval attire and music hall revue gear. Needless to say, this campaign attracted a large male following, and the "admirals" were the subject of popular trading cards and richly desisgned posters.


With this brief film, Edison invented a new B2C sales and marketing channel. The film also created some unusual social statements for that Victorian era: an American Indian was seated as an equal among the white male characters, and the enchanting female admiral broke a societal taboo by happily smoking a cigarette along with the guys.


And now, for your viewing pleasure, here is where filmed advertising officially began: