From Ad Age:
“Evidence is mounting that [TV] will gain little headway for ‘the duration,'” Ad Age wrote in June 1941 following the FCC’s approval of commercial TV.
The next month, on July 1, Bulova aired what’s considered the first TV commercial. The grainy, shaky, 10-second spot ran during an afternoon Dodgers-Phillies game on NBC-owned WNBT. There’s a simple outline of the then-48 states splashed with the face of a Bulova watch. A voiceover from pioneering announcer Ray Forrest says: “America runs on Bulova.”
The commercial cost Bulova about $4 and at best was seen by just a few thousand people who owned a TV set in the New York market where it aired.