Harvey Nichols spark outrage with 'disgusting' advertising campaign showing women wetting themselves
15:49 GMT, 8 June 2012
Luxury department store Harvey Nichols has come under fire for their latest advertising campaign, released to promote their summer sale.
The glossy poster depicts a woman who has apparently – and there is no delicate way of putting this – wet her pants with excitement.
But the Knightsbridge store's latest mailshots have angered some more sensitive shoppers who have branded them 'crass' and off-putting.
Crass The Harvey Nichols summer sale mailout was meant as a bit of
'light-hearted fun', say the store – but some sensitive shoppers have
taken offence at the image, taking to Twitter to criticise the flyers
Mailout: The images were included on flyers sent to thousands of clients of the high-end department store
The flyers, which have been sent to thousands of potential customers around the country to promote a sale, offended the more delicate of Harvey Nichols' client list.
They show a woman with a damp patch on her orange trousers next to the slogan: 'The Harvey Nichols Sale… Try To Contain Your Excitement.'
But while many will appreciate the light-hearted touch and evident sense of fun intended by the Knightsbridge store's marketing department, some have taken to the Internet to air their horror.
On micro-blogging site Twitter, the first outlet for the offended few to show their disgust, a debate is already raging.
One user said: 'Really, Harvey Nicks Really They’re certainly pushing the boundaries.'
Another user tweeted: 'you are kidding about these aren’t you *checkscalendar*'
One woman posted: 'that absolutely does not make me the slightest bit inclined to shop there!'
One tweet read: 'Anyone in advertising Even if not – take a look at the WORST advertising I’ve ever seen & it’s for @Harvey-Nichols'
'It was intended in a playful, inoffensive manner,
in keeping with the tongue-in-cheek spirit in which we intended our
campaign to be taken'
Other tweets on the subject included: 'that’s a ‘NOT FUNNY’ from me… Crass', 'sorry @Harvey-Nichols but they’re absolutely disgusting' and 'we received this in the post, hideous! It makes me think of their sale goods as being soiled :('
One poster merely said: 'Oh how the mighty have fallen!'
Defending its latest ads, a spokesman for Harvey Nichols said: 'We developed the campaign to promote our summer sale and capture the excitement in a light-hearted, humorous way.
'The images in our advertising were designed to be a visual representation of a well-known phrase.
'During the production of the campaign, we researched the use of this expression in popular culture and social media and were satisfied that is is both commonplace and invariably used in a playful, inoffensive manner, which was in keeping with the tongue-in-cheek spirit in which we intended our campaign to be taken.'
This is not the first time the store has sparked controversy with its ads, with the Advertising Standards Agency receiving complaints last December over a TV promo that showed women making the walk of shame.
Distasteful, or a bit of fun Sensitive shoppers have been offended by the images
Lightening the mood: The ads are in keeping with the store's tongue-in-cheek spirit, a visual representation of a popular expression
The advert, which sparked complaints
of sexism, showed a variety of dishevelled women in short,
figure-hugging dresses and high heels making their way home after one
saying 'avoid the walk of shame this season' then appears and is
followed by a shot of a well-dressed woman confidently returning home at
dawn. Unlike the other women, she is wearing a dress from Harvey Nichols.
The adverts drew
criticism that the ads condoned casual sex, but the Advertising
Standards Authority ruled that the depiction of women in this way was
'unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence'.
the watchdog dismissed Harvey Nichols’ claim that the women in the ads
had not necessarily had one-night stands. /03/21/article-0-123F99C7000005DC-132_634x369.jpg” width=”634″ height=”369″ alt=”The controversial ad showed at Christmas and sparked a series of complaints from viewers” class=”blkBorder” />
Sparking controversy: The 'Walk of Shame' advert for Harvey Nichols shown at Christmas drew criticism for what some said was the glamorisation of one night stands
Pushing boundaries: The final scene of the Walk of Shame ad, where a woman wearing a dress from Harvey Nichols walks home the morning after. The ad was cleared by the ASA, who said it was unlikely to cause widespread offence and did not encourage casual sex