Harvey Nichols Encourages You To Have The Selfish Christmas You Really Want

Get some nicely packaged “ultra low net worth” gifts for your loved ones and spend the serious dollars on yourself.

A fresh twist on the joy of giving has created a social media buzz in the U.K. with the launch of British department store Harvey Nichols’s Christmas campaign which encourages shoppers to forget thoughtful giving in favor of treating themselves.


The “Sorry, I Spent It on Myself” campaign revolves around a special gift collection of “ultra low net worth” gifts–such as a Water Resistant Sink Plug (£1.13); 100% Real Wood Toothpicks (47p); and Non-Swiss Biro Pen (81p).

When the range, which also includes Christmas Lunch in a Tin (billed as containing “most of the trimmings”) and Christmas crackers without any bang or gift inside, went on sale in-store and online November 27 the tooth picks sold out within a couple of hours. Meanwhile, the two tongue-in-cheek viral films supporting the range’s launch are attracting considerable interest.

The first, “Range,” directed by James Day through Siobhan Squire, broke last week showcasing the items. The second, “Sorry,” directed by James Rouse through production company Outsider and featuring people giving them as gifts and the reactions they get–was launched online yesterday.

Harvey Nichols is all about indulgence, so it was “only natural” to introduce a product range that played right into that, according to Richard Brim and Daniel Fisher, creative directors at agency adam&eveDDB which conceived, created, and designed both the product range and supporting campaign.

“It’s all about indulgence at the cost of others,” Fisher explains. “The brief was to get Harvey Nichols talked about–but with only a fraction of the budget major U.K. retail chains have to spend for Christmas we knew we needed to go further than just another 30-second ad.”

The star of the campaign is undoubtedly “Sorry,” a tongue-in-cheek series of present-giving scenarios highlighting the contrasting reactions of selfish gift givers and disappointed recipients.


“We had great fun coming up with ideas for the products–the main criteria being: what presents would you really not want to get?” adds Brim. “When the ‘Sorry’ film was being shot we were lucky to work with James Rouse, a really great comic director, who got some brilliant improvised reactions on the day.”

The campaign also comprises windows and in-store displays, a downloadable Christmas card from the Harvey Nichols website, and social media using the hash tag #SpentItOnMyself.

About the author

Meg Carter is a UK-based freelance journalist who has written widely on all aspects of branding, media, marketing & creativity for a wide range of outlets including The Independent, Financial Times and Guardian newspapers, New Media Age and Wired.