Ad Films or Video advertising has been the marketing industry's cornerstone ever since the days of black-and-white TV commercials between innings in America’s favorite pastime, baseball.

Humans are incredibly perceptive to motion pictures and visual effects, and agencies who create ad films have used that fact to their immense benefit across industries over decades.

According to a study published on Statista, the market for video advertising is expected to surge to USD 180.40 billion by 2022.

Ad films have come a long way. The TV series, Mad Men, showed us how ad film companies in the 60s spun imaginative tales about their products. Influencer marketing on Instagram does the same thing with Reels.

Today, we'll look at just how these ad films grew and why ad filmmaking companies keep putting their eggs in this dynamic basket.


The First TV Commercial

On July 1, 1941, at 2:29 p.m. in the US, the first-ever television advertisement, which cost $9, was broadcast. It was a 10-second advertisement for Bulova, a New York-based watch business, and it aired just before a baseball game between the Brooklyn Dodgers and Philadelphia Phillies.

This ad was seen only by around 4,000 people since TV sets were not a standard fixture in households just yet. But it ignited the spark for the video ad filmmaking industry for the following next decade.


The Golden Age

Soon after World War II, a new age of consumerism began, aided by the accumulated demand due to wartime.

Additionally, the 1940s also saw increased interest and investment in consumer behavior and psychology, which led to refined marketing strategies that boosted the effectiveness of ad films.

The industry was growing so fiercely that up until the 1960s, television shows were sponsored by advertisers, meaning that companies had total creative control over the programs they produced. They could even forbid rival companies from airing ads during their transmission.

With time, the slots got more competitive, resulting in an increase in the cost per slot, with the pinnacle of this trend occurring each year during the most-watched TV broadcasting: the Super Bowl.


The Super Bowl

Starting in 1967, the year of Super Bowl I, the maximum cost to promote a 30-second advertisement was $42,000. Fast forward to the 1980s, and we see the peak of Super Bowl ads Apple's 1984 Macintosh advertisement. This advertisement, which cost $500,000 to produce and was directed by Ridley Scott, was based on George Orwell's dystopian novel, 1984.

As a result of TV stations airing and discussing the advertisement, Apple received nearly $45 million in free advertising. Since then, the Super Bowl ad film slots have been highly coveted among ad filmmaking companies.?

According to a 2019 survey, 20% of people watched the Super Bowl solely for the commercials.


Rise of Online Advertising

The television was the only screen in the home for a long time once it started to become a common household item in the mid-1950s.

The introduction of computers in the 1980s was when things really began to shift quickly, going from 1,2 screens per family to an average of 7 by 2010! This rapid advancement gave advertisers more avenues than ever before to reach their consumers.

The marketers discovered that online ads on the internet might provide them with something that TV couldn't a target audience.

The introduction of Google AdWords in 2000 allowed users to browse the internet based on their search history. And in 2004, Facebook gathered tons of data from its users, giving advertisers a peak into consumer behavior and interests something previously unattainable.


Social Media Boom

YouTube added its video advertisements and partner program in 2007, enabling content providers to monetize suitable content. By November 2008, pre-roll ads began to appear before a select number of YouTube videos.

With 78.8% of marketers using it, YouTube is currently the most successful medium for video marketing. Facebook comes in second place with 58.5%.


The Present and the Future

We've been talking about evolutions. And nothing has seen a greater evolution than how humans interact with technology, especially social media.

Newer social media companies have tailored their strategies to benefit from our rapidly decreasing attention spans.

Snapchat, Instagram, and TikTok are among the emerging platforms focused on short-form content (15 seconds or less), each with its own advertising platform to promote your ads to its users.

On these platforms, short-form advertising allows content to be barely interrupted. Due to the shorter span and often unskippable nature of the interruption, it keeps people engaged.