Karr Collection Television Commercials: How to Use This Guide
Entries appear alphabetically by brand name. The brand name,
name of the company which produced the item or service advertised,
and the Library's shelf location number appear in boldface type.
All the information has been collected from screening the films
or examining the leaders of the films. Titles were supplied for
commercials which do not have original titles or whose titles are
unclear. If a title is supplied, it is indicated directly after
THE STANDARD DIRECTORY OF ADVERTISERS, a standard reference source
for advertisers and their brand names, was used to determine and
verify the name of the manufacturer or the service provider and,
in a few instances, the type of product. There was no attempt to
untangle the complicated strands of corporate structures. When
there was uncertainty about the form of the company's name, other
information resources, such as the Library of Congress database,
were searched for guidance. The same name is used for each product
or service, but it may not be the official name of the company.
The description of each commercial includes the footage count,
running time and whether the work is in color or in black and white.
All of the films are sixteen millimeter (16mm) and have sound unless
it is indicated that the sound track is damaged. Most of the commercials
are either sixty or thirty second spots. However, there are a small
number of fifty, forty, twenty, ten second spots, and spots of
Other information has been included, such as celebrity spokespersons
(e.g. Bing Crosby), famous advertising icons (e.g., the "Jolly
Green Giant"), and associated numbers, which could be production
numbers. Technical considerations are also noted, such as color
fading, animation, the combination of animation and live action,
and the existence of additional copies. In some instances, the
name of the probable production company and the advertising agency
are also noted.
Some commercials promote more than one product. In those cases,
separate entries were created to provide access to each product.
Notes in each entry include the brand names of all the products
advertised in and indicate that same commercials advertise multiple
After the entries, there are indexes by product type, company
name, and shelf location number. The product type and company indexes,
arranged alphabetically, lead the user back to the main body of
the finding aid by referring to the brand names. To facilitate
searching the collection by product types, an additional list is
provided which groups the products under broad categories, such
as CLOTHING, FOOD, and HOUSEHOLD PRODUCTS. A list of the personalities
who appear or whose voices are heard in the commercials is also
included. That list also refers back to the main body of the finding
aid by the brand names or brand names and title if there is more
than one commercial for that brand name. The shelf location number
index lists all of the commercials which are stored in each film
The product types were developed following a common-sense approach.
In most cases, the most specific term was selected. Most of the
product types are in the plural form except those which common
parlance dictated should be in the singular form. THE LIBRARY OF
CONGRESS SUBJECT HEADINGS was consulted for particularly troublesome
This finding aid was produced from an Alpha Four database. Record
numbers in that database are given in those entries for commercials
which advertise more than one product and for reels which contain
two commercials. At some time in the future, the data base may
be available to the public.