Skip Navigation Links  The Library of Congress >> Researchers
Motion Picture and Television Reading Room (Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division)
  Home >> Reading Room >> Guides & Finding Aids >> Karr Collection Television Commercials
Find in

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 title.

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 durations.

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 products.

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 container.

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 terms.

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.

Top of Page Top of Page
  Home >> Reading Room >> Guides & Finding Aids >> Karr Collection Television Commercials
Find in
  The Library of Congress >> Researchers
  August 31, 2010
Legal | External Link Disclaimer

Contact Us:  
Ask a Librarian