Debate: Does the new Harvey Nichols advert spoil the spirit of Christmas?


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The Independent Online

The new Harvey Nichols Christmas advert has certainly got people talking. They've introduced a new basic 'Sorry I spent it on myself' range which encourages customers to splash out on themselves instead of loved ones.

But are they ruining the spirit of Christmas?

Or simply breaking the mould in Christmas advertising?

(Scroll down to watch the ad)

Case for

Sarcastically fluttering its eyelashes, the implied message in the Harvey Nichols ad is: “Oh, we know, we’re all about money and lux and self-indulgence. But at least we aren’t hypocrites like all those other schmaltzy stores.”

Yet flaunting selfishness like it’s a stylish accessory is so hideously wrong, it should make you want to weep. It’s offensive that a spoilt teenager would spend all his money on himself instead of his grandma. Or that a mother would rather buy herself a dress than her son a toy. Adverts sell products by selling ideas, and this idea makes for an awful world.

It’s also worth remembering how eye-wateringly expensive Harvey Nichols is too. You’d be hard pressed to buy anything for under £100, while bags sell for as much as £5,000. The real reason Granny has ‘never had anything from Harvey Nicks’ is because she’s always been too poor. Christmas is a time for giving, not just presents, but love. This advert mocks us for wanting the world to be a better place for a few weeks.

Oh and by the way, £1 is too much to pay for three elastic bands.

@Felicity Morse

Case against

Christmas is a big business, and getting your advert noticed in this crowded market means spending big bucks, or taking a risk. John Lewis took the soppy route, spending £7 million on their Bear & The Hare cartoon, but Harvey Nichols have gone the other way – offering a selfish alternative to all this do-gooding.

Scrooge is famous for a reason, and they've taken a tip from him in this example of extremely clever marketing. Their ‘Sorry I spent it on myself’ range is inspired. It’s a tongue-hanging-out-by-their-cheek nod to the part they play in Christmas consumerism and selling of high-end products.

While it’s unlikely people will get their grandma a mere packet of paper clips or their son a simple sink plug, as a festive starter, it would make for an excellent prank. Especially for those who expect a little too much as a Christmas gift. So good on Harvey Nicks for making us chuckle.

Plus, why not treat yourself a little?

Bah humbug!

Which do you agree with? Leave your comments below