Housewives Get Hot and Heavy With Their Books in New Ads for Harlequin Romances

Fifty shades of ew?

Desperate housewives enjoy illicit entertainment right under their oblivious husbands' noses in this campaign for Harlequin, the romance novel publisher, from BBDO Toronto and Someplace Nice director Pete Henderson.

The campaign, themed "Whatever you're into," is designed to communicate that there's something for everyone in Harlequin's wide range of book series. So, whether you prefer snogging on a washing machine with a cowboy or humping on a couch with a sailor, Harlequin has you covered (because the ads would be even more awkward if the ladies started getting uncovered).

Despite the sudden scare from Fifty Shades of Grey, Harlequin remains the juggernaut in romance publishing, putting out more than 100 books a month in 34 languages in 110 markets. The imprint was bought by News Corp. last year and now operates as a division of HarperCollins.

With the "Escape the Everyday" campaign, it hopes to rekindle passion for its products among the average woman, who's read only one Harlequin romance novel in the past five years. Also check out the Harlquin website, where you can play a game called "Date, ditch or marry," which is a certainly a racier trifecta than the publisher's official tagline, "Entertain, enrich, inspire."


Client: Harlequin

Agency: BBDO, Toronto

Executive Creative Directors: Carlos Moreno, Peter Ignazi

Associate Creative Director: Linda Carte

Copywriter: Shiran Teitelbaum

Art Directors: Linda Carte, Alice Blastorah

Account Directors: Martina Ivsak, Paul Forrest

Account Coordinator: Zach Kula

Agency Producer: Aimee DeParolis

Production Company: Someplace Nice

Director: Pete Henderson

Executive Producers: Chilo Fletcher, Estelle Weir

Director of Photography: Jonny Cliff

Editing: Matt Dell, Ricochet

Music, Sound House: Ricochet

Color: Eric Whipp, Alter Ego

Casting: Shasta Lutz, Jigsaw Casting