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Whip, Whisk, Or Spanking Paddle? Harvey Nichols’ Recruitment Ads Weed Out The Weaklings

There are some questions that prospective employers are not allowed to ask job candidates. Are you married, what is your religion, where are you from, do you have or might you have any children, and even, do you like a cocktail or two? All these and more are off limits.


A recruitment campaign from U.K. department store Harvey Nichols is taking a fresh approach to testing prospective employee suitability for a new store opening in Birmingham. Under the banner “Fanatics Wanted” a series of ads (sure to outrage people on Twitter) is set to run from this weekend posing questions with multiple-choice answers so hopefuls can establish if they “have what it takes” to work there.

The choices are a little un-PC. One ad looking for “Style Fanatics’ asks which item would be number one on a divorce settlement, with choices being a house, a child or a fetching red frock. Another perhaps even less politically correct iteration asks people to identify their biggest fear in prison and includes a garish prison uniform alongside an ominous empty shower room. A different version for the food and drink department asks people to select their biggest turn on and offers a whip, a spanking paddle, and a whisk.


The joke campaign (as it seems unlikely that one’s position on prison fears would really come up in an interview), was created by Adam&EveDDB and breaks this weekend. It is in keeping with the darkly witty tone of Harvey Nichols ad campaigns, which have included the multi-award winning, “Sorry I spent it on myself” of Christmas 2013, which picked up four Grand Prix at last year’s Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.LJ