CBS logoCBS unveiled its Eye Device logo on October 17, 1951. Before that, from the 1940s through 1951, CBS Television used an oval spotlight on the block letters C-B-S. The Eye device was conceived by William Golden based on a Pennsylvania Dutch hex sign as well as a Shaker drawing. (While commonly attributed to Golden, there is speculation that at least some design work on the symbol may have been done by another CBS staff designer, Georg Olden, one of the first African-Americans to achieve some notoriety in the postwar graphic design field.) The Eye device made its broadcasting debut on October 20, 1951. The following season, as Golden prepared a new ident, CBS President Frank Stanton insisted on keeping the Eye device and using it as much as possible.
An example of CBS Television Network's imaging (and the distinction between the television and radio networks) may be seen in a video of The Jack Benny Program from 1953; the video appears to be converted from kinescope, and "unscoped" or unedited. One sees the program as very nearly one would have seen it live on CBS. Don Wilson is the program announcer, but also voices a promo for Private Secretary, which starred Ann Sothern and alternated weekly with Jack Benny on the CBS schedule. Benny continued to appear on CBS radio and television at that time, and Wilson makes a promo announcement at the end of the broadcast for Benny's radio program on the CBS Radio Network. The program closes with the "CBS Television Network" ID slide (the "CBS eye" over a field of clouds with the words "CBS Television Network" superimposed over the eye). There is, however, no voiceover accompanying the ID slide. It is unclear whether it was simply absent from the recording or never originally broadcast.
The CBS eye is now an American icon. While the symbol's settings have changed, the Eye device itself has not been redesigned in its entire history. In the network's new graphic identity created by Trollbäck + Company in 2006, the eye is being placed in a "trademark" position on show titles, days of the week and descriptive words, an approach highly respecting the value of the eye. The eye logo has frequently been copied or borrowed by television networks around the world, notable examples being the Austrian Broadcasting System (ORF) which used to use a red version of the eye logo, Associated TeleVision in the United Kingdom and Frecuencia Latina in Peru. The logo is alternately known as the Eyemark, which was also the name of CBS's domestic and international syndication divisions in the mid to late 1990s before the King World acquisition and Viacom merger.
Through the years, CBS has developed several notable image campaigns, and several of the network's most well-known slogans date from the 1980s. 1981's "Reach for the Stars" used a space-themed campaign to capitalize on both CBS's stellar improvement in the ratings and the historic launch of the space shuttle Columbia. 1982's "Great Moments" juxtaposed scenes from classic CBS programming such as "I Love Lucy" with scenes from the network's then-current classics such as "Dallas" and "M*A*S*H". From 1983 through 1986, CBS (by now firmly atop the ratings) featured a campaign based on the slogan "We've Got the Touch". Vocals for the campaign's jingle were contributed by Richie Havens (1983–1984 and 1984–1985), Aaron Neville (1984–1985) and Kenny Rogers (1985–1986). The 1986–1987 programming season ushered in the "Share the Spirit of CBS" campaign, the network's first to use full-out computer graphics and DVE effects. Unlike most network campaign promos, the full length version of Share the Spirit not only showed a brief clip preview of each new fall series, but also utilized the CGI effects to map out the entire fall schedule by night. The success of that campaign led to the 1987–1988 "CBSpirit" campaign. Most CBSpirit promos utilized a procession of show clips once again. However, the new graphic motif was a swirling (or "swishing") blue line, that was used to represent "the spirit". The full length promo, like the previous year, had a special portion that identified new fall shows, but the mapped-out fall schedule shot was abandoned.
For the 1988–1989 season, CBS unveiled its new image campaign, officially known as "Television You Can Feel" but more commonly identified as "You Can Feel It On CBS". The goal was to convey a more sensual, new-age image through distinguished, advanced-looking computer graphics and soothing music, backgrounding images and clips of emotionally-powerful scenes and characters. However, it was this season in which CBS began its ratings free fall, the deepest in the network's history. CBS ended the decade with "Get Ready for CBS". The 1989–90 version was a very ambitious campaign that attempted to elevate CBS out of last place (among the major networks); the motif was network stars interacting with each other in a remote studio set, getting ready for photo and TV shoots, as well as for the new season on CBS. The high-energy promo song and the campaign's practices saw many variations across the country as every CBS affiliate participated in it, as per a network mandate. Also, for the first time in history, CBS became the first broadcast network to team with a national retailer to encourage viewership, with the CBS/Kmart Get Ready Giveaway.
For the 1990–91 season, the campaign featured a new jingle—The Temptations offered an altered version of their hit "Get Ready". The early 1990s featured less-than-memorable campaigns, with simplified taglines such as "This is CBS" (1992) and "You're On CBS" (1995). Eventually, the advertising department gained momentum again late in the decade with Welcome Home to CBS (1996–1997), simplified to Welcome Home (1997–1999) and succeeded by the spin-off campaign The Address is CBS (1999–2000).
Throughout the 2000s, CBS's ratings resurgence was backed by their "It's All Here" campaign, and their strategy led, in 2005, to the proclamation that they were "America's Most Watched Network". Their most-recent campaign, beginning in 2006, proclaims "We Are CBS" with the voice of Don LaFontaine. As of 2009, the network has shifted to a campaign entitled "Only CBS" in which the network proclaims several unique qualities it has.