2nd December 2013

Sorry, I #SpentItOnMyself – a brass neck turns heads

By Hannah Ingram on Monday December 2, 2013

Admit it, we’ve all ooo-ed and aaaaw-ed at the various Christmas adverts to grace our TV screens in recent weeks. Bear and hare. The dad who’s home for Christmas. Ant and Dec.

Aaaw indeed.

But the Christmas advert that’s really caught my eye is from those crazy cads at Harvey Nichols who went completely against the grain with their marketing ploy for Christmas 2013.

The advert starts so well, with loveable family members excitingly opening presents, before they discover the gift within. Toothpicks. A sink plug. Paperclips. All essentials that you just don’t think about at this typically generous, giving time of year.

“They’re from Harvey Nichols, Gran – I don’t think anybody’s ever got you anything from Harvey Nichols before,” says the grandson after presenting his dear old nan with a packet of paperclips.


The ‘Sorry, I Spent It On Myself’ campaign has been received in two ways – outrage and laughter.

With the tag line – ‘Tis the season to be self-indulgent! This Christmas, a little something for them means a bigger something for you’ – it was bound to turn heads.

“But that’s not the true meaning of Christmas!” I hear you cry.

But think of it this way, how many pointless presents have you bought in recent years, just to tick a box? For example, I need something for my friend’s friend. Errrrmmm… novelty socks, done!

If you’re planning to buy presents for people because you feel like you have to, it’s actually a false economy as the feeling’s probably mutual. And that present will probably never be worn or used.

So why not get a pack of toothpicks?

But back to the matter in hand, I admire Harvey Nichols’ brave stance on Christmas. The type of customer is clear – if you’re going into a Harvey Nichols store, you’re probably either splurging on yourself or you’re a very generous gift-giver. Or you’re pretty wealthy. Or all three.

The fact that Harvey Nichols has hit the nail firmly on the head is a stroke of genius. If you want to buy yourself a pair of Valentino shoes and splash out almost £600 on them, the chances are that there won’t be much left for Christmas presents.

Enter the Harvey Nichols ‘Sorry, I spent it on myself’ range of gifts!

These novelty presents are sold out across the Harvey Nichols’ website as people have obviously seen the ad, laughed, and thought “I must get me one of those” – and so the brave marketing plan has worked.

But, of course, if you’ve got a couple of hundred pounds sitting there doing nothing and you want some of the more expensive items in the advert, the website allows you to ‘shop the video’ taking the customer experience one step further. Genius.

Throughout all of this, the chain is not afraid to poke fun at itself, releasing the following quote:

“At this time of year it can be all too easy to get caught up in the spirit of giving. We hope that our new ‘Sorry, I Spent It On Myself’ gift collection will provide our customers with low-cost gifting options for others that will allow them to spoil themselves that little bit more this Christmas,” said Julia Bowe, Group Press & Marketing Director of Harvey Nichols.

It can be difficult to take risks with PR campaigns but Harvey Nichols has shown what is possible with a deep breath and a ‘let’s just go for it’ attitude.

Harvey Nicks – I salute you!