Vignettes of a vanished Ireland

vanished ireland Irish Adverts Project

IFI: The Irish Film Institute announces the launch of The Irish Adverts Project

The Irish Film Institute (IFI) celebrates Ireland’s advertising heritage with the unveiling of a collection of restored television adverts from the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, in a project undertaken by the IFI Irish Film Archive and made possible by the support of the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland’s (BAI) Archiving Funding Scheme.

The adverts, the culmination of an 18 month-long project to preserve and digitise Ireland’s TV advertising past, document the fascinating evolution of Irish consumer society and culture over three decades and are free-to-view worldwide on the IFI Player, the globally accessible virtual viewing room for material from the IFI Irish Film Archive.

The IFI Irish Film Archive, supported by a grant from the BAI’s Archiving Funding Scheme, has catalogued, digitised, restored and preserved a large collection of 35mm film television advertisements made in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s.

The collection of 8,000 rolls of film, had been held in a number of damp warehouses for decades. The IFI Irish Film Archive team has salvaged this material, through a combination of painstaking processes including frame-by-frame assessment, extensive physical and chemical conservation, followed by scanning and digital restoration.


This project has resulted in the creation of a substantial Irish TV advertising archive of leading brands ranging from Cadbury to Calor, and promotional films for state organisations such as Dublin Corporation, the ESB and CIÉ. It is a rich treasure trove of national memory and cultural artefacts.

These films may be only seconds long but, taken together, they provide a unique window into Irish society and consumer habits over the course of three decades. They tell us much about the community they were made for, as well as the era they were made in, reflecting an Ireland of very different social mores, standards, dress sense, and attitudes to gender and race. Fascinating on many levels, they can be enjoyed from a nostalgic, historical, social or cultural perspective. Over 200 adverts are available to view now on the IFI Player at

“We are delighted to be adding this critically important material to the IFI Irish Film Archive’s online collection. This project has been a huge undertaking for the organisation, and 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 our vast collection to audiences right around the world, free of charge.”
Ross Keane, IFI Director

“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.”
Michael O’Keeffe, CEO of the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI)

“We are most grateful to the Irish Film Institute for resurrecting some of the iconic advertising of the 1960s. Wilson Hartnell/Ogilvy was at the heart of many of these great ads, which helped build some powerful brands and some great categories that became the backbone of the Irish market. Many of these brands still live on today and prove what David Ogilvy always said — “unless your brand is built on a big idea, it will pass like a ship in the night.
J.P. Donnelly, Group Chief Executive of Wilson Hartnell/Ogilvy Group


Sign in or create your account to join the discussion

Register now to keep up to date with all the latest:

  • Irish News
  • Sport
  • Community and Entertainment

Sign up to our Newsletter to be in with a chance to win a snazzy iPad and for all the latest...

  • Email updates
  • Regular features
  • Competitions and give aways