Humour is a great marketing tool – particularly when your product could potentially be killing your customers.
Hamlet cigars found a simple formula for making amusing adverts and stuck with it for decades, until tobacco advertising was finally banned and they were forced into retirement.
This one is possibly the best-known Hamlet advert and arguably the funniest (but then, it was based on a sketch from a comedy show):
And here is the original sketch (from the BBC Scotland sketch show Naked Video):
The Baldy Man is played, incidentally, by Scottish actor Gregor Fisher, best known for portraying drunken Glaswegian Rab C Nesbitt in the sitcom of the same name (Rab also started out, incidentally, as a series of sketches in Naked Video). Like Rab, the Baldy Man was also spun-off into his own sitcom.
Moving on, here is an excellent compilation of 13 of the best of the Hamlet ads, including a couple of vintage ones from the 60s, that show that the formula was found quite early on.
For the dedicated Hamlet advert enthusiast, I’d recommend searching on YouTube as there are quite a few other classic ads that aren’t in the compilation. Here’s a few to get you started:
There’s some excellent misdirection in this one:
Health Warning: Remember kids, smoking may cause you to cough up a lung or die in an equally unpleasant and untimely manner.