Not all well remembered and liked ads are effective. This lesson was illustrated in 1959 when UK tobacco company Wills launched the Strand cigarette. The cigarette was launched by a major television advertising campaign along with posters, newspapers, and coupons for free packs of Strand cigarettes.
The TV campaign featured a man walking in a wet London street, wearing a rain coat, smoking a cigarette in a reflective manner, with the theme being “You’re never alone with a Strand”. The ads were widely talked about, much liked, included a memorable tune, and were parodied by leading UK comedian Tony Hancock. The actor playing the man in the ad became a celebrity and the theme tune entered the music charts.
However, the cigarette bombed and was soon removed from the market. It seemed the public associated the brand Strand with losers. People liked the ad but did not want to be personally associated with somebody whose only friend was a cigarette.
This campaign reminds researchers that issues such as standout and memorability are not enough. A bad campaign can finish a brand - especially a memorable bad campaign!