Harvey Nichols “crude” Contain Yourself campaign has a mixed impact on the retailer’s image

Harvey Nichols “crude” Contain Yourself campaign has a mixed impact on the retailer’s image

Harvey Nichols’ recent Contain Yourself campaign has built social media engagement around their seasonal sale, using a tongue-in-cheek campaign. However, response is mixed and the campaign has a negative impact on the brand's "classy" brand image.

Following on from its daring “Walk of Shame” Christmas advert, Harvey Nichols has launched a new campaign depicting images of models who have wet themselves with excitement for the seasonal sale. The campaign creatives are used as both outdoor posters and shared on the brand's Facebook and Twitter handles with the hashtag #containyourself.
Since the launch of the ad, social media bloggers have debated whether Harvey Nichols’ approach is “genius” or “disgusting”. WaveMetrix analysis shows that consumers using the official hashtag #containyourself on Twitter are strongly divided. The Contain Yourself campaign is received much less positively than the Walk of Shame one was last year, as consumers feel the retailer has “gone a step too far”. Negativity is driven by the campaign's misalignment with Harvey Nichols' "classy" image. However, the advert does give the retailer a "cool" edge, suggesting it has refreshed perceptions of the brand.
The Contain Yourself campaign is less well received than the Walk of Shame one:
  • 41% of consumers talking about the Contain Yourself campaign are negative: Consumers tweet using the hashtag #containyourself to express their "disgust" with the campaign. This suggests that, whilst humour can be a good way to engage social media users, misalignment with brand image can create a backlash in social media
  • 59% react positively to the campaign: Despite a much less positive response than towards the Walk of Shame campaign, the Contain Yourself campaign still receives a majority of favourable reactions. Some consumers tweet saying they find the adverts "funny" and "entertaining"


  • The campaign negatively impacts Harvey Nichols' "classy" image: Many say they "would not expect" such a campaign from the Harvey Nichols brand, as it does not convey the "luxury" and "classiness" which Harvey Nichols stands for
  • However, some feel that the campaign gives Harvey Nichols' a "cool" edge: The campaign's tongue-in-cheek stance contributes to the perception that Harvey Nichols is "fun" and praise their "outstanding" sense of humour. Although the campaign doesn't resonate with the retailer's luxury image, it moves it towards a more contemporary one


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