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LC Holdings

The Library of Congress collections of television commercials are primarily intended for viewing in our reading room by patrons working on research projects. The majority of our television advertising holdings are searchable through the Internet. Finding aids to three of our largest commercial collections, the Karr, Dartmouth College, and Robert Gitt gifts, can be accessed online. Copies of commercials received as copyright deposits can be searched in the Library of Congress Online Catalog. The titles of the commercials begin with the generic term, "[Television commercial–]," and continue with the name of the product or sponsor and, in some cases, the title of the commercial, if known. The following is an example of a title in the Online Catalog: "[Television commercial–Quaker State motor oil]. Father and son." Commercials included in the body of television programs are identified in the notes field of our cataloging records. Identify these advertisements by searching "commercials" combined with the name of the product or sponsor, such as Greyhound or Scott Paper. Currently, our Coca-Cola Collection is not searchable online, contact the reference staff for further information.


In most cases, requests for copies should be negotiated directly with the advertisers or agencies. Except for our Coca-Cola Collection, we do not have contact information for manufacturer or advertising agency archives. (Patrons seeking to obtain a Coke commercial should contact our reference staff with a detailed description of the advertisement. We will check our holdings to identify the commercial and then refer you to the Coca-Cola Archive to request a copy.)

Although in theory some of the television commercials in our holdings are available for purchase, the process of actually acquiring a copy, whether for profit use or not, is extremely time-consuming and costly, so much so that it usually represents an insurmountable obstacle. More precisely, you would need to identify the rights holder(s), both in terms of copyright and brand/trademark, and obtain the owner's written permission before we could proceed with making a copy. Even if permission is obtained, the duplication costs are often prohibitive. Our holdings of TV commercials primarily consist of unique copies that have not been preserved (i.e. no negatives or master positives have been made), and it is up to the customer placing the order to cover the full cost of generating these preservation elements for the Library.

Other Sources

If you are unable to obtain a copy directly from the advertiser or agency, below are some possible alternatives:


Provides streaming video of television commercials mostly from the 1990's to the present. There is currently no charge for viewing. Users can browse by company, product, category, actor/actress, and event. Requires either RealPlayer or QuickTime to view commercials. Site does not sell, buy or trade commercials.

Site created for the international advertising community and people interested in advertising in general. Claims that their online database includes over 7000 television ads in their commercial archive. Offers several types of membership plans, please see web site for more details. This site also sponsors the Claymore Project- Superbowl Commercials Archive, 1989-present. Requires QuickTime to view commercials and the site does not sell, buy or trade clips or commercials.

Provides access to streaming video and information about music videos, movie trailers, television commercials, and short films. Each entry in the database contains background information about the commercial, however, the information provided can be submitted and updated by anyone. The majority of entries do not have a streaming video link and information about each entry is limited. The browse function allows you to view all items in the database or only items that provide video. The ClipPro service– subscription based section– provides information on production and post-production companies, magazines, advertising organizations, TV stations, and music video awards. The User Center gives an okay explanation on how to use the site.

This site is useful if you know what product or company you are looking for. There are a number of VHS compilations for sale.

This site allows you to search a number of stock footage libraries and archives at the same time through the use of their Global Search function. Clicking on any one of the search results listed will link you to the archive or library that has that particular commercial.

This site is a collection of mostly recent television commercials. There are many different categories to search through including TOP 10 OF ALL TIME, MOST POPULAR, and BANNED. This site does not sell, buy or trade commercials.

Provides access to the Prelinger Archive of over 1,200 "ephemeral" (advertising, educational, industrial, and amateur) films made from 1927 through the present. Holdings include compilations of classic television commercials 1948-1969. See FAQ's for information on reuse and software requirements.

Retro Junk
Web site:
A retro collection of TV commercials, movie trailers and theme from the 1970s, 1980s and the 1990s.

This site provides access to television shows and commercials from the 1950's - 1980's. There is a fee to access the full moving image database and the site does not sell, buy, or trade commercials. Links are provided to the Columbia House web site for the purchase of television shows. Please see web site for more details.

Provides access to a large library of television commercials. This company has been collecting commercials since 1975. There is a per visit fee to access the site and charges for duplicating materials apply (the older the material, the more it costs to copy). The site does not specifically say industry business only, but the cost of duplication may deter general public.


The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
19 Library
1408 West Gregory Drive
Urbana, IL 61801
Phone (217) 333-0798
Fax (217) 333-2214
The Advertising Council Archives, administered by the University of Illinois Archives since 1986, documents the story of public service advertising since the early days of World War II. Onsite access to the collection is restricted to legitimate research purposes only. All duplication of material is governed by archive guidelines.

220 Fifth Ave.
Suite 1500
New York, NY 10001
Phone: (212) 683-4300
Fax: (212) 683-4796
Clio is the world's largest advertising awards competition, and one of the most prestigious in the international advertising and business communities. Begun in 1959, Clio recognizes advertising excellence worldwide in the areas of TV, Print, Outdoor, Radio, Integrated Media, Design, Internet, and Student work. CLIO offers a number of items for sale, including a special 40th Anniversary Reel, with over 100 commercials drawn from the rich, four decades of Clio. If you are ordering from an ad club, please contact Clio Awards directly for special pricing information at 212-683-4300. If you ordering from a school, please contact Films for the Humanities & Sciences at 800-257-5126 or

New York Office
141-07 20th Avenue
Suite 504
Whitestone, NY 11357
Phone: 718-747-6747
Fax: 718-747-6007
Library of television commercials. Compilation videotapes available to advertising professionals and academic institutions. Website provides list of compilation tapes, including "Directors - from Commercials to Feature Films," "U.S. Golden Oldies," and "International Golden Oldies." For additional titles, see University of California at Berkeley Media Resources Center website.

5660 N. Jersey Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60659-3694
Phone: (773) 267-9899
Fax: (773) 267-7796
Company has footage of politics, medicine, sports, family life, travel, newsreels, animated cartoons, musical performance, war, popular culture, television, radio, advertising, etc. Will only service valid research requests.

25 West 52nd Street
New York, NY 10019
Phone: (212) 621-6600
Fax: (212) 621-6715
465 North Beverly Drive
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
Phone: (310) 786-1000
Web site:
The Paley Center's permanent media collection contains nearly 150,000 television and radio programs and advertisements, available both in New York and Los Angeles. The online database offers synopses, along with production credits for the programs. To assist individuals doing extensive media research, the Paley Center offers facilities and staff to help researchers utilize our microfiched clippings file and our extensive collection of television and radio programs to their fullest potential. We also provide personalized research assistance for your visit. The Steven Bochco Scholars Room in Los Angeles and the Edward John Noble Scholars Room in New York have carrels equipped with an audio/visual monitor for viewing and listening to the Paley Center's collection of programs and computers that access the library's database

610 Elm Avenue
Norman, Ok 73019
Phone: (405) 325-3114
Fax: (405) 325-1566
This archive is home to approximately 70,000 spots dating back to 1936 for radio and 1950 for television and representing candidates for offices ranging from the U.S. Presidency to school boards throughout the United States. On site access to collection is by appointment only. The archive will consider loaning material only for research purposes and under strict guidelines. If you are creating a published work, you must obtain permission from original copyright holder prior to duplication. Please contact the archive for further information.

10832 Chandler Boulevard
North Hollywood, CA 91601
(818) 752-9097 Fax (818) 752-9196
Email: research@filmfootage.com
Provides services to the public and there may be a charge for research. Also there is a charge for duplication, please call for prices.

P.O. Box 3125
Chatsworth, CA 91313-3125
(818) 704-0400
Fax: (818) 701-0560
Voice Line Order Desk: (800) Shokus-1
This company provides a catalog of VINTAGE TELEVISION VIDEOS AND DVDs. Items in the catalog include comedies, dramas, variety shows, westerns, etc from the 1950's- 1960's. Video compilation copies are available for purchase, please see web site.

Archive Research and Study Center
46 Powell Library
(310) 206-5388
fax: (310) 206-5392
UCLA collections include an estimated 10,000 television commercials, spanning from 1948 to the 1980s. Ads for virtually all types of consumer goods and services are represented. Among the holdings are classic i.d. characters such as the Ajax White Knight and Charmin's Mr. Whipple, as well as such classic campaigns as Parkay's "It's Not Nice to Fool Mother Nature" and Coca Cola's "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing." Animated spots include "I Wish I Were an Oscar Meyer Wiener" and "Ruffles Have Ridges." Visit the website for further information on access to the collections.

Media Resources Center
Moffitt Library
phone: (510) 642-8197
Lists numerous compilation videotapes of classic and current commercials available for viewing at the Media Resources Center. Consult with a local librarian to determine whether individual tapes listed are available in your library system.

16101 S. 108th Avenue
Orland Park, IL 60467
Phone: (708) 460-0555
Toll free: (800) 777-2223
Fax: (708) 460-0187
Stock footage library whose material includes news, documentaries, commercials, etc. You can search this archive on their website or through FOOTAGE.NET.


Large newsgroup dedicated to discussing topics and issues related to television commercials. Postings to newsgroup not always relevant.

Yahoo!Group site that serves the advertising community and those interested in the field.

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  March 7, 2011
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