Strand (cigarette)

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Strand cigarettes logo.png
Product typeCigarette
OwnerImperial Brands
Produced byW.D. & H.O. Wills
CountryUnited Kingdom
DiscontinuedEarly 1960s
Related brandsEmbassy
MarketsUnited Kingdom[1][2][3]
Tagline"You're never alone with a Strand. The cigarette of the moment."

Strand was a British brand of cigarettes which was owned and manufactured by W.D. & H.O. Wills (a now defunct subsidiary of Imperial Tobacco).


Strand was launched in 1959 but withdrawn in the early 1960s. The launch was accompanied by a huge television advertising campaign with the slogan "You're never alone with a Strand". They also ran advertisements in newspapers offering a free pack of Strand cigarettes to readers who filled in a coupon and sent it in.


You're never alone with a Strand[edit]

A Strand pack

This television advertisement depicted a dark, wet, deserted London street scene in which a raincoated character, played by Terence Brook, looking similar to Frank Sinatra, lit a cigarette and puffed reflectively. This was accompanied by an instrumental, "The Lonely Man Theme" by Cliff Adams, playing in the background and a voice-over declared "You're never alone with a Strand. The cigarette of the moment".[4][5]

The commercial, written by John May,[6] was popular with the public, with Brook becoming a star, and the music reaching Number 39 in the UK Singles Chart.[7][8]

However, sales of the brand were poor and it was soon taken off the market. The public associated smoking Strand cigarettes with being lonely and were put off from buying them.[9] It is regarded as one of the most disastrous tobacco advertising campaigns of all time with only 0.3% of male smokers and 0.7% of female smokers ever buying a pack of Strand cigarettes.[10][11][12][13]

The company rebranded Strand as Embassy. The new TV adverts showed a man at a party, ignored by everyone. He produces a pack of Embassy, starts offering them around and is suddenly the life and soul of the party. The advertising campaign's success can be judged by Embassy becoming the biggest selling cigarette of the 1960s.

Popular culture[edit]

The campaign was parodied in "The Bowmans", an episode of Hancock's Half Hour, where Tony Hancock stars in a series of commercials for "Grimsby Pilchards" with the tagline "You're never alone with a pilchard".

"Do The Strand", a song by Roxy Music, was based on the advert for the cigarettes.

Strand Cigarettes were mentioned in David Bowie's 1986 song "Absolute Beginners", and its music video was influenced by the adverts.

The whole advert can be seen in The Young Ones (1961 film) though the slogan is interrupted by the one of the young people (Carole Gray) putting on a show.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "BrandStrand - Cigarettes Pedia". Retrieved 25 January 2018.
  2. ^ "Strand". Retrieved 25 January 2018.
  3. ^ "Brands". Retrieved 25 January 2018.
  4. ^ The Commercials at (includes footage of the commercial)
  5. ^ UK Television Adverts, 1955-1985: Cigars, cigarettes, and tobacco at Accessed 10 September 2014
  6. ^ "John May". Daily Telegraph. 21 March 2002. Retrieved 15 May 2018.
  7. ^ Advertisements" at Accessed 10 September 2014.
  8. ^ "The Lonely Man Theme". Official Charts. Retrieved 15 May 2018.
  9. ^ "Off the back of a fag packet" at Accessed 10 September 2014.
  10. ^ "The history of advertising 18 - Strand cigarettes". Retrieved 25 January 2018.
  11. ^ Murray, Scott (29 May 2009). "Joy of six: Things that you no longer see in TV adverts". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 January 2018.
  12. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2018-01-26. Retrieved 2018-01-25.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  13. ^ "What makes a bad advert?". 19 March 2014. Retrieved 25 January 2018.