sale (ads) of the century

Believe it or not I didn’t try Marmite until I was in my twenties.  As one of those quintessentially British things it didn’t translate well to Northern Ireland in general, let alone the provincial abyss, I mean idyll, I called home.  In fact, if it weren’t for Mr Bean I probably wouldn’t even have heard of it until I started university.

Harvey Nichols (and John Lewis and House of Fraser) is another British (though we really mean English, don’t we?) institution that didn’t make it across the pond.  It wasn’t until one opened in Bristol and I saw the famous window displays that I understood what the big deal was.  It was even later, during a visit from DDB London’s Pete Matusazaksaxk(sp?) at the  Bristol Insight into Media 2011(?) course, that I found out about their amazing sales and even amazinger (ugh) ads.

We were split into groups and tasked with creating the next Harvey Nichols sale ad.  ‘Don’t worry, we won’t steal you ideas’, he chuckled (probably).  To be honest, there was no need for that, our ideas were terrible. A series of (wo)men objectifying women nonsense. Women love sales and it makes them bloody mental and feral.  There was actually something equally sad and impressive about how similar everyone’s ideas were.  This was made all the more sad and impressive when we were shown some of the real ads.  Even though the ads are made every year (for the same thing really) since 2001 they’ve managed to keep them fresh, and fun, with each one based on a different insight.


This year’s campaign is a case in point.  Pictures of models in over and undersized clothing with the tagline ‘best get there early’ or risk buying something ill-fitting, just because it’s cheap(er).  It’s not my favourite, not by a longshot, that honour goes to the tastefully titled ‘Piss Lady’ which caused a bit of a stir with its images of models unable to contain their excitement.  I’m actually pretty impressed with the risk Harvey Nichols are willing to take.  They must be a great client.

Anyway, time for the picture grids.  Click to embiggen.


Layout 1


 EDIT : I’d completely misunderstood the latest ad.  Made a change to prevent looking even more the idiot.

the little wear-maid

I try to be a good boy. really, I do.  I try to post sensible, well thought out posts.  Measured analysis of magazines, ads and fashion.  I even try to dress ‘sensible’.  Sure I’ve flirted with the animal sweaters and print overload but now I’m about the oxford shirts, the desert boots, the plain white tees.  But then people like Bobby Abley come along and overpower my sensibilities. 

As part of MAN for London Collections : Men he’s put together a series of Little Mermaid inspired neoprene sweaters (very fashion) and I want them.  I want them all and I want them hard.  I even like the short sleeved jumpers (think they call them tshirts?).  I’m not even that big a Disney fan (Pixar is more my thing, though Pongo is my boi) but can’t resist how fun and striking yet simple they are.  Can we also talk about how cool/clever Flotsam and Jetsam are as eel henchman (hench-eels?) names?

full collection and other work here


Perdiz : a magazine review

perdizTitle : PERDIZ

Tagline : happiness is contagious

Issue : 4

Price : €12 in Spain, €15 in Europe or part of a Stack subscription

Cover : extreme close-up of a mineral with a burnt orange frame.  Perdiz written in block capitals in holographic foil.  I don’t even know what to think about this.  Don’t really get its relation to the happiness theme.

Shelf appeal : I can’t even.  The glittering holo font would grab your attention as much as the burnt orange would repel it.  I guess it ends up neutral over all.

Layout and Design : very zine-y.  Paper is nice and pulpy which gives an amazing texture and nice, almost faded colouration to text.  Very nice use of illustration too.  The spine is, erm, hard to describe but it seems important to tell you it’s bound differently than any other magazine I’ve seen.  It’s all adds up to a really nice folksy feel.

Content : loads of cool stuff in various forms on the topic of happiness.  That makes it sound really cheesy but it isn’t.  It’s actually very sweet, a feeling helped along by the sometimes sketchy translations (the entire magazine include both Spanish and English text for each feature).

Best Feature : it’s a close call but the ASMR feature, I Got Chills, snatches it.  It’s just a small collection of some people’s favourite ASMR (autonomous senseory meridian response) moments.  It’s hard to explain but it’s basically searching out things that unexplainably make you shiver, tingle and relax.  I’ve been following it for a while as I think it’s really cool concept and I always like seeing it get coverage.

Best feature : has to be the inclusion of Spanish and English text for every feature.  Not only does it make you feel clever (you can pretend to understand Spanish!) but it also leads to some adorably, endearing mistranslations. eg ‘It’s temporally impossible!’

Worst feature : it’s a bit mean to do this about a magazine dedicated to happiness, isn’t it?

Rating : full marks, top scores, all the stars

more reviews here


suckin’ DIESEL

At this blog can feel like a well documented, albeit poorly, written love/hate affair with DIESEL.  Their BE STUPID campaign is what first made me interested in a career in advertising and I’ve idolised it so much everything else seems like a pale comparison, a weak imitator.  I’ve followed their follow-up campaigns closely, always trying not to be too disappointed.  In DIESEL’s defence, they’re always cool, just not quite (BE) STUPID enough for me.  The pre-fall 2014 campaign is a case in point.

With Nicola Formichetta (formerly of Mugler and Haus of Gaga, nowArtistic Director at DIESEL) taking the helm and Nick Knight (ridiculously  good and justifiably famous photographer) behind the lens you knew it was going to be good, or at least visually stimulating.  Various quotes from the pair cite inspiration from ‘great images, from fashion advertising to fine art, that have shaped our way of looking at things’ and images referencing great Italian art ‘ from ‘the classical and digital’.  I don’t quite see that all myself but I love the top image in particular.  There’s something very Boys of Iwo Jima about the composition with the distinctively ‘fashion’ feel that DIESEL likes to adopt.  I absolutely love the editing, again more so in the first, which is beautifully hack ‘n’ slash and somewhat destructive and definitely disorientating.  I’m not so big on the lighting but it’s fitting for a collection that’s decidedly darker, stronger than previous showings.





the best worst hotel

I tried to write a witty introduction for these ads.  Something about self-deprecation and (under) selling yourself.  About accepting your flaws to disable your ‘haters’ (here’s looking at you, Marmite). I tried, and I failed.  It came out as a garbled mess that would ultimately be more embarrassing than admitting it was bad, deleting it and starting over (hooray for self-deprecation).  

But back onto the topic at hand, the Hans Brinker Hotel.  I’ve been a huge fan of their ads and ethos for ages as they pitch themselves as the worst hotel in the word.  By embracing, and hopefully exaggerating, their cheapness they’ve appealed to my inner contrarian and I really want to go. It can’t be that bad, right? (please let me know if it’s really that bad [Anthony Burrell did some work for them so they can't be that cheap {can they?}])  At least they’ve got a sense of humour.

Here a few of my favourites/most easily accessible