|Produced by||Japan Tobacco|
Hamlet is a well-known brand of cigar produced by Gallaher Group division of Japan Tobacco. They are available in several varieties, miniatures and also a regular length. They were regularly referred to as the 'mild cigar' in their advertising.
Hamlet cigars were first launched in the UK in 1964. More recently, Hamlet cigars have been launched in a number of western European markets.
They are most famous in the UK for their comical advertisements, which presented scenes in which a man, having failed dismally at something, is consoled by lighting a Hamlet cigar. Much of the humour came from the fact that the product being advertised was deliberately unclear until the tell-tale cigar appeared, accompanied by the tune of Bach's Air on the G String, played by French musician Jacques Loussier, and the line "Happiness is a cigar called Hamlet". For example, one advertisement created a diversion by appearing to be advertising beer: a man, dying of thirst in a desert, finds a can of Heineken but accidentally spills it all into the sand; so instead he lights up a Hamlet cigar.
Since the ban on tobacco advertising in the UK (which banned tobacco adverts on television in 1991) and much of Europe was implemented during the 1990s, the adverts are no longer aired; they are also no longer shown in cinemas, with the final cinema advert shown in 1999, with the special slogan "Happiness will always be a cigar called Hamlet."
The closure in September 2009 of the Cardiff-based factory producing Hamlet was announced on 16 October 2007.
In popular culture
The television comical advertisements have been parodied in other shows. One example was in a Dave Allen comedy sketch showing a scene depicting the assassination of President Lincoln immediately followed by his wife consoling herself by smoking a Hamlet cigar accompanied by its signature tune.