Advertisements Collection

The collection of advertisements is an essential documentation of 20th century Danish cultural history. We have advertisements that were shown in cinemas and on TV.

Introtex on Denmark's oldest commercial

Photo: A. James Gee

The collection contains advertisements shown in cinemas in the beginning of the 20th century, as well as examples of advertisements shown on the TV channel TV 2.

The majority of our collection of advertisements has been digitised and can be viewed on Mediestream.

The collection's content and history

In the period 1903 – 1995, it is estimated that approximately 10,000 Danish advertisements were produced, whereof 4,000 are included in the library's collection. The earliest advertisement dates from 1907 and the latest from 1995. Advertisements shown on TV 2 in the period 1988 – 2005 are also part of the collection, and our most recent additions are advertising blocks shown on TV 2 from week 46 of 2005 and onward.

When we converted the cinema advertisements to digital form, we found that a surprisingly large number of films – especially those from the 1950s, 60s and 70s – were severely discoloured and had to be restored in order to obtain useable digital copies. The discolouration was due to the advertisements being stored on videotapes, mainly VHS but other types as well, and the tapes were degrading.

Advertisement metadata

The information about the individual cinema advertisements, also called descriptive metadata, originate from censor's certificates from the State Office of Film Censorship. These were handwritten file cards containing bibliographical information, including product category, product name, title of the advertisement, film producer, advertising agency, duration of film and date of release. 

When we converted the advertisements to digital form, we scanned the censor's certificates and linked them to the films in a manual process. Around a hundred of the oldest cinema advertisements were part of a pilot project and therefore also contain content summaries.

Please note that the descriptive metadata of the TV 2 advertisements has been produced by TV 2 and mostly contains information that is similar to that of the cinema advertisements but differ in, for instance, product categories.