When television began in the late 1940s, advertising was already a vital part of the picture. Throughout the 1950s, advertisers were fully in charge, controlling the content of a large part of prime time. With the shift away from full sponsorship to 30-second “participating” spots in the 1960s, a new era of creativity emerged. This talk will look at how advertising changed during television’s first two decades and the important role it played in convincing viewers that the key to happiness lay in quite literally buying their way into the American dream.