This Classic 1980s Cigar Commercial Is One of Britain’s Funniest Ever

Sketch comedy meets advertising in Hamlet campaign

We usually get pretty familiar choices when we ask top creative directors to pick their three favorite ads for our “Best Ads Ever” series.

But Wade Devers of Arnold Worldwide, clearly a student of advertising, goes a bit further afield with his selections—the first two from England, including a classic comic cigar campaign from famed agency Collett Dickenson Pearce.

CDP came up with the “Happiness is a cigar called Hamlet” campaign in 1963, just a few years after the agency’s founding. It ran all the way until 1999.

One of the most famous executions, which Devers picked as one of his three favorite ads ever, featured a balding man with an absurd combover trying to pose for a photobooth picture, but getting foiled repeatedly.

See the spot here:

The actor in the spot is Gregor Fisher, a Scottish comedian. The character came from a sketch comedy show called Naked Video, which ran from 1986 to 1991. (Fisher later reprised the character in the mid-’90s for a whole show called The Baldy Man.) The “Photobooth” ad has consistently ranked among the 10 funniest commercials ever when British people are polled on the topic.

Check out the video at the top of the story for more from Devers, including a classic print campaign for English Heritage and a famous automotive spot that’s revered around Boston. He also tells us about work at Arnold that he’s been proud of lately.

For more “Best Ads Ever” videos, click here.