Hamlet Cigar in Photo Booth

Brand Republic in the UK has just released the results of voting on the Top 10 funniest TV ads of all time. The initial list, chosen by people from the UK advertising industry, was put to the popular vote over two months. Third on the list is a spot from 1987 featuring Gregor Fisher posing for a picture in a photo booth, promoting the classic line, “Happiness if a cigar called Hamlet”.

Hamlet Photo Booth shots of Gregor Fisher

It’s a classic scene. You just know that the camera will go off when you least expect it. Fisher’s character, The Baldy Man, is caught out time and time again, bending over to show his bald head, looking down, and recovering from the collapse of his chair. Finally, the comb over poser rises above the fiasco, enjoying the happiness of a Hamlet cigar. Click on the image below to play the video.


“Photo Booth” was based on a comedy routine developed by Gregor Fisher, Colin Gilbert and Philip Differ on Naked Video, a Scottish comedy television series.

The skit was adapted at CDP (Collett Dickenson Pearce), London, by creative director/copywriter Rowan Dean and creative director/art director Garry Horner.

Filming was shot by Graham Rose via Rose Hackney Barber, London.

Music is Air on a G String by Johan Sebastian Bach, by the Play Bach Trio, with Jacques Loussier on piano.

Download Jacques Loussier Trio playing Air On a G String on iTunes

Hamlet Photo Booth shots of Gregor Fisher

Twenty Years Later

Photo Booth won a Gold and Silver Lion, and Silver D&AD in 1988, and was voted the ad of the century by a Leo Burnett sponsored special jury at Cannes in 1997.

Television advertising for cigars was banned in 1991.

Fisher went on to play the parts of Rab C Nisbett (1988 – 1996), The Baldy Man (1995 – 1997), Hector Robertson in Brotherly Love (2000), Joe in Love Actually (2003), and more recently Jacky in Empty (2008).

Philip Differ continued his life in comedy, as writer and executive producer for Scottish shows Scotch and Wry, Watson’s Wind Up and Only An Excuse?, along with the stage show Rikki & Me. He is now a stand up comedian and after dinner speaker.

Rowan Dean joined London production company Rose Hackney as a director, later winning a Silver Lion for his German ‘Aids’ commercial. He returned to Australia in 1988 and became a partner with Paul Ibbetson and Peter Cherry (Ibbetson Cherry Dean) before establishing his own production company Rowan Dean Films in 1995. Rowan was Chairman of AWARD between 2000 and 2003, and became Executive Creative Director at Euro RSCG, Sydney, in 2006.

Garry Horner left CDP in 1992 to join WCRS as joint Creative Director. In 1996 he moved to DDB Australia to take on the role of National Creative Director. Since 2006 he has been Creative Director with Whybin/TBWA, Sydney.

Graham Rose in 2002 wrote and directed a thirty minute short ‘Mrs Meitlemiehr’ as a demo piece for feature projects. This black comedy drama set in an alternative reality, reveals what really happened in the Hitler bunker in 1945. It was screened at the Venice Film Festival in 2003 and has won many awards in Europe and the US, has been broadcast on Film Four and shortlisted at the Academy Awards.

CDP was wound up in 2000, bought by Dentsu and incorporated into CDP-Travissully, London.