In case you’ve been doing something else in the last 24 hours, you can’t fail to have seen the furore erupting around the latest campaign from Harvey Nichols, featuring models who have wet themselves in excitement at the prospect of a sale.
This campaign is so far off the mark, it’s almost unbelievable. Here are the three reasons why.
1) I don’t know about you, but when I see an image of someone wetting themselves, I can smell urine. So all these ads do for me is evoke an idea that, should I ever have the misfortune to visit a Harvey Nichols store, I’ll be greeted with the aroma of stale wee, possibly with some Pine Mountain Fresh Glade air freshener liberally applied to mask the scent.
This is not conducive to making me want to spend any money.
Advertisers need to remember the link that consumers make between the senses (even if they’re not fully synaesthetic).
2) It’s obviously meant to be funny. If you find piss jokes amusing, you’re probably a teenager. Teenagers don’t have huge amounts of money to spend in Harvey Nichols.
3) It’s lazy.
Let me repeat that in a big, bold font in case you missed it the first time.
I hate lazy creative. I hate creative which is obviously designed to get people talking about it through employing fringe humour, sex or shock value.
Anyone can do that shite (and believe me, I’m pitched enough of it every year).
It’s not insightful. It’s not clever. And it’s not really all that funny either.
But you know what the real kicker is?
It’s a PR stunt designed to get people talking. Until this ad broke, I wasn’t aware that Harvey Nichols was having a sale (not living in London, not having enough cash and being in no way hip enough to shop there).
Sadly, I am now. As are you, now that you’ve read this post.
So it’s worked.
Neil Hopkins is a Marketing and Branding Theorist at heart, and a Marketing Communications Manager by day. His blog – interacter – is the primary location he shares insight and information relating to marketing, branding and advertising strategy.
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