Every holiday, British department stores compete for whose ad will wring the most tears out of their customers. Given that this is a pretty crowded race, Harvey Nichols shoots for a category in which it's pretty much alone—the appeal of pure, unfettered materialism. In this vein, it's taught us how to battle the deathlike rictus of "gift face," and even created a super-cheap line of crappy presents for people who'd rather spend their holiday budgets on themselves. This year, Harvey Nichols kicks off winter with a wicked promotion for the Italian goods now available to its customers. Created by adam&eveDDB, "Britalia" appropriates a famous scene from As You Desire Me, a Luigi Pirandello play, in which an Italian couple are having a heated argument.
CANNES, France—adam&eveDDB's "Shoplifters" spot for Harvey Nichols won the Film Grand Prix at the Cannes Lions festival here tonight, while Droga5's "Rule Yourself: Michael Phelps" for Under Armour took the same prize in Film Craft.
We used to joke that equality will finally be achieved when men are given as much shit for their looks as women. Good news! Evidence suggests we've finally made it—or we're damn close, anyway.
Harvey Nichols always has a bit of a snarky Christmas campaign—most notably, "Sorry, I Spent It on Myself" from 2013, which won a slew of ad awards for adam&eveDDB. The British retailer on Monday unveiled its 2015 holiday work—and it's all about remedying the horrible affliction known as "gift face," where you must offer a rictus of glee upon receiving a truly woeful present.
Shoplifters get their comeuppance in adam&eveDDB's latest work for Harvey Nichols, which promotes the chain's Rewards App with the tagline, "Love freebies? Get them legally."
Luxury retailer Harvey Nichols practically swept the 2014 Cannes Lions with its last holiday campaign, which won a staggering four Grand Prix. Now the brand has returned with its highly anticipated follow-up. Last year's effort, "Sorry, I Spent It on Myself," celebrated Christmas as a time to focus on the most important person in your life—yourself—while giving your loved ones some absolute rubbish gifts like gravel or office supplies. The campaign definitely had its critics, including the audience at the Cannes awards show, where it was the only ad booed by attendees. So in the year since, has the retailer, like Ebenezer Scrooge before it, learned the true lessons of Christmas? The new spot "Could I Be Any Clearer?", again from agency adam&eveDDB, features a doting niece signing a Christmas card for her dear Auntie Val, a woman who obviously loves her but unfortunately misses the mark when it comes to gift giving. (The camera pans to a puppy throw pillow, an iron and a djembe.) She delivers the card to Auntie Val, who is thrilled by the visit and the gesture. But, of course, there's more to it than that.
CANNES, France—All this past week, Cannes Lions judges and presenters talked endlessly about how the best ads are those that inspire and even improve the world. So, why was the festival's most awarded campaign an unapologetic (if tongue-in-cheek) homage to selfishness and greed? One whose centerpiece video has a relatively meager 500,000 views on YouTube—and was, in fact, the only ad jeered by attendees at Saturday's awards show here? The Harvey Nichols holiday campaign "Sorry, I Spent It on Myself" from agency adam&eveDDB took home no less than four Grand Prix, making it the second most awarded campaign in the festival's history. (McCann Melbourne set the record last year with five Grand Prix for "Dumb Ways to Die.") The campaign centered on the creation of cheap products, such as gravel or rubber bands, sold in Harvey Nichols stores with the label "Sorry, I Spent It on Myself." The video showed customers giving these crap gifts to relatives and loved ones at Christmas while enjoying expensive clothing and handbags for themselves. It's a good campaign, and may well have deserved the Integrated Grand Prix. But it also won the Press Grand Prix, the Promo & Activation Grand Prix and a Film Grand Prix—one of two awarded in that category, along with Volvo Trucks' "Epic Split." And it's that Grand Prix in Film—where it bested some truly powerful and popular pieces of cinematography—that's the real head-scratcher. At a press conference Saturday afternoon, the Film Lions judges gushed about the spot's "boldness" but struggled to explain how it merited such lofty accolades. I asked them how it could possibly have been a unanimous selection as one of the two best pieces of advertising film in the past year. "To take greed and make people laugh and smile about it is, I think, incredibly difficult," said jury member Pete Favat, chief creative officer of Deutsch L.A. "And as a film, it's a perfect piece of film." I disagree, and it was clear I wasn't alone when, during a screening of the ad at Saturday's big awards ceremony, some derisive whistling could be heard. To illustrate why its Grand Prix selection was so baffling, we've decided to highlight some of the work it beat for the top spot. You might not agree that any one of them was Grand Prix material, but you'd be hard pressed to argue that they're lesser films. Below are our picks for seven ads that could have, and should have, ranked higher than Harvey Nichols:
CANNES, France—Doing good things for others has been a major theme at Cannes Lions this year. Ironically, though, the festival's single biggest winner did precisely the opposite. It comically celebrated selfishness.