IFI launches archive library of classic Irish adverts

Two hundred TV ads and promotional spots from the 60s, 70s, and 80s can now be watched online

IFI launches archive library of classic Irish adverts


As anyone who’s ever watched a single episode of RTÉ’s iconic nostalgia-tapping show can attest, TV adverts from decades past offer a perfect snapshot of Irish culture and consumerism.

The Irish Film Institute has just unveiled a collection of restored TV adverts from the 1960s to the 1980s, thanks to a major archival project supported by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland. The 200 adverts can now be viewed online on the IFI Player.

The project involved taking nearly 8,000 rolls of film, which had been stored in damp warehouses for decades, and digitising the reels into files. Now the TV commercials, which were broadcast on Irish television and created by some of the country’s most prolific advertising agencies, have been salvaged and preserved through painstaking frame-by-frame processes, immortalising Irish commerce for generations to come.

The archive includes TV spots from household name brands, including Cadbury and Calor, as well as promotional material produced by state bodies like Dublin Corporation, the ESB and CIÉ. While brief in duration, the adverts provide great insight into the development of Irish culture, exploring society, fashion, and attitudes to gender and race identities.

“We’re delighted to be adding this critically important material to the IFI Irish Film Archive’s online collection,” said Ross Keane, director of the institute.

“This project has been a huge undertaking for the organisation, as we are particularly pleased to be able to share the results with the public through our new IFI Player, which provides access to many parts of out vast collection to audiences right around the world, free of charge.”

Michael O’Keeffe, CEO of the BAI, added: “The BAI is delighted to be associated with this Irish Film Institute project. The preservation aspects of the project, together with the historical and cultural value of the advertising material, are commendable.

“It epitomises the aims of the BAI’s Archiving Scheme by contributing to the preservation of Ireland’s broadcasting heritage and record of Irish culture.”

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