Happiness is a cigar called Hamlet
"Happiness is a cigar called Hamlet" is one of the best remembered British advertising campaigns for a tobacco product. It was a long-running campaign for Hamlet Cigars, lasting on television until all tobacco advertising on television was banned in the UK in 1991. They returned in cinemas in 1996, continuing there until 1999.
The advertisements featured in television, radio and cinema commercials, various print media, and on billboards. The slogan and the entire campaign was created by the Collett Dickenson Pearce agency in 1966. The premise is that a man finds himself in an awkward or embarrassing situation and lights a Hamlet cigar. Lighting and smoking this cigar makes him smile and forget his woes. The campaign branched out from traditional advertising, even publishing a book of cartoons based on the idea.
A memorable ident featured the 1982 Channel 4 blocks forming the number 5, then rewinding and then forming a jumbled mess, which then turns into a face and then smokes a cigar, making it smile.
These adverts were often mocked, most notably on The Kenny Everett Television Show.
Numerous advertising filmmaker, including:
Numerous celebrities appeared in the adverts, including:
- Ian Botham
- Ronnie Corbett
- Gregor Fisher in the guise of his "Baldy Man" character (from Naked Video), attempting to use a photo booth
The advert was listed as the eighth greatest television advertisement of all time by Channel 4 in 2000. Both the original Channel 4 ident and a Hamlet advert spoofing the ident were made by Martin Lambie-Nairn. Furthermore, the advert was ranked as the ninth greatest advertisement in an ITV list made in 2005 and as the third funniest television advertisement ever by Campaign Live in 2008.
- Tobacco Key Dates in the Campaign to ban Tobacco Advertising | ASH
- Happiness.. WAS a cigar ad by Hamlet; CAMPAIGN GOES UP IN SMOKE | The Mirror
- Brand Strategy. February 2006. "Orchestrating a sound strategy, Lesson Four: Be creative, be distinct and remember that nobody is listening!". Accessed 8 August 2006.
- History of Advertising Trust Archive. "CDP: one of the greatest advertising agencies ever". Accessed 8 August 2006.
- AdSlogans.com, includes links to a print ad and television commercial in QuickTime and Windows Media Player format
- Hamlet Cigar Cartoons
- retrospective collection of Hamlet adverts presented by Willie Rushton in 1992