Hamlet 'photobooth' by Collett Dickenson Pearce

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Of all the rich seam of commercials that presented Hamlet cigars as the perfect antidote to life's misfortunes, the "photo booth" spot is the one that lives longest in the memory.

Indeed, Campaign named it as one of the top 10 funniest commercials of all time at the end of last year.

The struggles of Gregor Fisher to get his straggly-haired head in the frame in a passport photo booth exemplifies the campaign’s droll humour, played out to Jacques Loussier’s recording of Bach’s Air on a G-string and featuring the line Happiness is a cigar called Hamlet.

The story goes that the idea came to the Collett Dickenson Pearce creatives Tim Warriner and Roy Caruthers on the top deck of bus late at night as they travelled home having failed to crack a brief.

After they’d lit up, Warrinder sighed that Happiness is a dry cigarette on a number 34 bus. Thus was a great campaign born.

This ad was kindly donated by the Arrows Archive, which contains all TV ads nominated for the BTAA Awards since 1977. The archive is maintained by the History of Advertising Trust.

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Released: 01 January 1986


Photo booth

Philip Differ, Rowan Dean

Art director
Garry Horner

Production company
Rose Hackney Productions

Graham Rose

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