High-end department store Harvey Nichols has become renowned for creating surprising, cheeky and sometimes controversial ads that get people talking. Featuring real-life CCTV footage of shoplifters, its latest spot, created to promote its new Rewards app, continues its provocative approach.
The spot, shown above, features genuine footage of ‘stylish shoplifters’ – as the press release puts it – at work in the store. Their faces are obscured by animated masks courtesy of the Layzell Brothers (see CR April 2013). As the ad progresses, the thieves are shown being chased and caught by security guards. The ad’s tagline then appears: ‘Love freebies? Get them legally.’
It would be very easy for a brand like Harvey Nichols to do beautiful, glossy, bland ‘fashion’ advertising. But that has never been its game. This, thanks to ad agency Adam&EveDDB, is the store that gave us the Sorry I Spent It On Myself campaign, as well as the ‘walk of shame’ spot and a print campaign showing women wetting themselves with excitement at an imminent sale. You may not always like their approach, but it’s never boring and they seldom play it safe.
I can’t help wondering whether the cartoon additions fully conceal the identities of the shoplifters though, and the aggressive nature of the pursuit and arrests is certainly attention-grabbing, shall we say.
Beneath the audacity of the approach there also lies a touch of threat – that this is what awaits you if you do try and steal from Harvey Nicks. So think on.
CCO: Ben Priest
ECDs: Ben Tollett, Richard Brim
Creatives: Colin Booth, Ben Stilitz
Directors: Layzell Bros
Production company: Blinkink