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Advertising films collection

The collection of advertising films is an essential documentation of 20th century Danish cultural history. We have advertising films shown in the cinemas and TV.

A. James Gee

The collection contains advertising films shown in the cinemas in the beginning of the twentieth century, as well as examples of advertising films shown on TV 2.

The majority of our collection of advertising films has been digitized, and can be viewed in Mediestream.

Content and history of the collection

In the period of time 1903 – 1995, it is estimated that approx. 10,000 Danish advertising films were produced, and 4,000 of these are included in the advertising films collection. The earliest film dates from 1907, while the latest is from 1995. In addition, advertising films shown on TV 2 in the period of time 1988 – 2005 are also part of the collection, and our most recent additions are advertising breaks shown on TV 2 from week 46 of 2005 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 advertising films being stored on videotapes, mainly VHS but other types as well, and that the tapes were degrading.

Advertising film metadata

The information about the individual cinema advertisements, also called descriptive metadata, originate from censor certificates from the State Office of Film censorship. These were handwritten file cards containing bibliographical information, including product category, product name, title of advertising film, film producer, advertising agency, duration of film and date of release. When we converted the advertising films to digital form, we scanned the censor certificates and linked them to the films in a manual process. Around 100 of the oldest cinema advertisements were part of a pilot project and therefore also contain summaries of the contents.

Please note, that the descriptive metadata of the TV 2 advertisements has been produced by TV 2 and by and large contain information that is similar to the cinema advertisements but differ in e.g. product categories.