The vast majority of my YouTube collection is made up of random ads. I don’t think there’s anything particularly special about most of them; I’ve just placed them there because I found them on old VHS tapes and want to preserve them for posterity in a new format. I realize the impulse to do this is perhaps a form of OCD, autism, or full-blown mental illness.
However, in so doing, I’ve found that there are people out there people who even more trainspotty than me, folks who can recall exactly what aired when on TV throughout the ages, right down to all the ads, and are very eager to tell me in the comments (especially if I’ve gotten some detail wrong). For some reason, this is particularly true for local news ads/clips. Perhaps because the personalities from local news usually endure longer than those seen in national ad campaigns, or they evoke a sense of community. It’s also possible these folks are just bonkers.
Here’s an example: A promo for CBS-2 news with a “health” bent, followed by a comment from someone who knows exactly where some of the footage originated.
The same commenter made another appearance on another news-related YouTube video of mine. This was a montage of terrifying local news teasers from the 1980s, but this commenter was still able to isolate one moment in the video and not only identify the source, but tell me when it aired.