Strand (cigarette)

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Strand Tipped Cigarettes (Full Flavour).jpg
An old English pack of Strand cigarettes
Product type Cigarette
Owner W.D. & H.O. Wills (a now defunct subsidiary of Imperial Tobacco)
Produced by W.D. & H.O. Wills (a now defunct subsidiary of Imperial Tobacco)
Country United Kingdom
Introduced 1959; 59 years ago (1959)
Discontinued Early 1960s
Related brands Embassy
Markets United 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Strand was launched in 1959 but withdrawn in the early 1960s.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 if you filled in a coupon and sent it in.


You're never alone with a Strand[edit]

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[disambiguation needed], was popular with the public, with Brook becoming a star, and the music reaching Number 39 in the UK Singles Chart.[6]

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.[7] 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.[8][9][10][11]

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.

Ironically, the company went on to rebrand 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.

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. ^ Advertisements" at Accessed 10 September 2014.
  7. ^ "Off the back of a fag packet" at Accessed 10 September 2014.
  8. ^ "The history of advertising 18 - Strand cigarettes". Retrieved 25 January 2018. 
  9. ^ Murray, Scott (29 May 2009). "Joy of six: Things that you no longer see in TV adverts". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 January 2018. 
  10. ^ [1][dead link]
  11. ^ "What makes a bad advert?". 19 March 2014. Retrieved 25 January 2018.