Advertising: Great campaign subverts the festive spirit with rubbish present range

Posted by Rob Alderson,

It’s fair to say that Christmas marketing campaigns are – on the overwhelming whole – pretty cheesy. Kudos then to Daniel Fisher and Richard Brim of adam&eveDBB who managed to persuade Harvey Nichols to subvert the spirit of the season with their Sorry, I Spent It On Myself range. It constitutes a series of rubbish presents (think a bag of gravel or some toothpicks) with an explanatory apology that the giver had splurged their Christmas cash on the person who really matters at this time of year – themselves.

There’s also a great video by James Day which lampoons saccharine festive adverts by showcasing these mundane offerings over a sickly sweet Silent Night instrumental. We spoke to Daniel about how the campaign came into being…

Tell us about the genesis of this idea?

We didn’t start off wanting to do a deliberate riposte of other stores’ Christmas ads but it just seemed to go that way; Harvey Nichols is ultimately all about indulgence, so it felt like the most natural area to explore. One thing we definitely did want to do though was something that was more than just an advert, which I guess helps explain how we ended up producing a full gift collection.

How difficult was it to persuade the client this was the right way to go?

Not too difficult. They loved it straight away!

How did you come up with the ideas for the really average products?

We spent a lot of time trawling through pound shops and hardware stores. The criteria we gave ourselves was that all the presents had to have absolutely no redeeming gift qualities whatsoever. 

Do you think as the cheesy set-piece Christmas ads become an annual fixture we might see more of this kind of backlash?

I’m not so sure. I think people like their Christmas adverts to be big and magical; they’ve become as much a part of Christmas as the Oxford Street lights. So long as they are done well, I think there’s a genuine anticipation for them. This idea just happened to feel like the absolute right thing to do for this brand.

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    adam&eveDBB: Sorry, I Spent It On Myself for Harvey Nichols

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Posted by Rob Alderson

Editor-in-Chief Rob oversees editorial across all three It’s Nice That platforms; online, print and events. He has a background in newspaper journalism and a particular interest in art, advertising and photography. He is the main host of the Studio Audience podcast.