First Commercial Introduced
On Radio Broadcast
"Visit our new apartment homes in Hawthorne Courts,
where you may enjoy community life in a friendly environment."
-- H.M. Blackwell
Lincoln, Me. (DG)--
you're familiar with infomericals on TV, you already know it's an annoying
half hour of people endlessly talking about and selling a product to the viewing
While we think of the infomerical as a new idea, it wasn't. A primitive
form of this idea began on radio in 1922 with the very first radio commercial.
The only difference was the material presented on the radio commercial could
not contain a sales pitch to the listeners. This was due to direct selling
on the air wasn't allowed.
On station WEAF in New York, a 10-minute radio program was presented
on the air. It was a brief talk by H.M. Blackwell, a representative
of the Queensboro Corporation.
The subject matter
of the program consisted of some apartment homes at a complex called Hawthorne
Court in Jackson Heights, New York. Blackwell talked about care free
life in the suburbs (where the complex was located) that was free from the
hustle, bustle, and congestion of living in the city.
When the broadcast was coming to its conclusion, Blackwell closed it out
with, "Let me close by urging you to hurry to the apartment house near
the green fields..... the community life and friendly environment that Hawthorne
Since direct selling wasn't allowed, Blackwell's presentation was considered
to be an "indirect direct" way of selling the people on the idea of moving
to Hawthorne Court. Blackwell didn't mention anything about the rates
the apartment complex charged, and he mentioned the Queensboro Corporation
name only once.