Harvey Nichols Battles ‘Gift Face’ This Christmas, Where You Grin and Bear a Bad Present

Cheeky marketer's latest bit of selfish holiday cheer

Headshot of Tim Nudd

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.

The new campaign, again from adam&eveDDB, was based on unimpeachable research suggesting 72 percent of U.K. adults have admitted to pulling "gift face" to save the feelings of a loved one—and 63 percent admit to wearing or using an unwanted gift after Christmas to keep up the pretense.

Plus, the whole theme fits nicely with Harvey Nichols' general philosophy, which is that it isn't better to give than to receive at Christmas—it's better to receive, and you'd better receive something nice.

"This year we wanted to help people avoid #GiftFace and ensure our customers give their special somebody a gift that truly hits the mark," says Shadi Halliwell, group creative and marketing director of Harvey Nichols. "We worked closely with adam&eveDDB to create yet another compelling and comical campaign that we know the British public can relate to. We've all been there!"

Fear of a bad gift seems to be particularly pressing in the U.K. this year. In addition to the Harvey Nichols work, Jeff Goldblum has been teaching Brits how to act when they get a crappy present—in this campaign for Currys PC World.

See the Harvey Nichols print work below. The campaign lends itself pretty well to print, actually, with its amusingly off-kilter pained portraits.

@nudd Tim Nudd is a former creative editor of Adweek.