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Italy is Left Empty-handed in Harvey Nichols' New Christmas Campaign

Advertising Agency
London, UK
adam&eveDDB launches tongue-in-cheek 'Britalia' winter campaign directed by Gary Freedman

This winter, Harvey Nichols is celebrating all things Italian with a new campaign called 'Britalia' (pronounced 'Brit-alia'). The global promotion sees the luxury retailer bring the best of Italian style, beauty, food, drink, culture and lifestyle to its customers, and, as part of the promotion, Harvey Nichols is unleashing a tongue-in-cheek campaign to support it. Famous for its distinctive and award-winning campaigns that are honest, unique and pioneering in the competitive seasonal advertising landscape, the 'Britalia' campaign video, which has been created by adam&eveDDB, sees Harvey Nichols steal the best Italian food, drink, fashion and beauty leaving the Italians empty-handed…

The launch film features a famous dramatic scene from a Luigi Pirandello play (As You Desire Me), where an Italian couple Salter and the Unknown Woman, are engaging in a passionate debate in Italian. Harvey Nichols has humorously re-subtitled the English subtitles to suggest that the couple are cursing Harvey Nichols for taking the best of their fashion (Valentino dresses and Versace underwear), beauty (Armani lipsticks) and food (artisan pasta), leaving them with nothing to wear or to eat at Christmas. The original footage shows the couple breaking up, but the cleverly placed re-subtitles depict the characters looking to seek revenge on “Harvey Nichols” who are “thieving rats”. The English subtitles bear no relation to what it is actually being said. 

Shadi Halliwell, Creative and Marking Director at Harvey Nichols, comments: “There could be no better time to celebrate Italy. All aspects of Italian culture are experiencing a renaissance and our recent sales data show that Italian products are the gifting items our customers turn to. We’re delighted to be celebrating “Britalia” and expanding our Italian fashion, food, drink and beauty collections to provide our customers with the most stylish edit of luxurious gifts.”

Harvey Nichols has seen significant growth across Italian fashion, beauty, food and drink categories at Christmas in recent years. 2015 even saw Panettone sales soar ahead of certain styles of mince pie for the very first time, and still and sparkling Italian wines are a popular choice to accompany Christmas festivities amongst the retailer’s customers, with Italian red wine sales increasing by 13% in November and December in 2015. Similarly, luxurious olive oils, Italian biscuits and chocolates are snapped up at this time of year, as customers turn to Italian products because of the craftsmanship, provenance, traditional artisan skills and playful designs.

This is in tune with research conducted by Harvey Nichols with Opinium which demonstrates that those in the UK have incorporated Italian products and traditions into their own Christmas. 25% of British adults reported that Panettone is a staple food to have on Christmas Day or during Christmas party festivities, with 20% stating that they purchase the Italian dessert to gift a loved one they are visiting. 52% of those polled believe that Prosecco makes a good companion to Christmas Day festivities, and one third turn to Italian reds and whites to enjoy alongside their turkey. 24% of Brits turn to Italian products (such as Panettone, Prosecco and luxurious oils) when gifting foodie friends and family, and Italian fashion labels for the fashion aficionado in their life. Similarly, reports from Google Trends show an uplift in Google search terms for Italian food and drink products, such as Panettone, biscotti and amaretto, at this time of year.

The survey also looked at Christmas Day habits and found that Italians are more likely to argue with family on Christmas Day (45%) compared to 41% of British adults; however, those in the UK are more likely to have made up with their loved ones by the end of the day, whereas those in Italy might leave it until the end of the Christmas holidays or even January (72% vs 62% respectively).The favourite game to play in the UK on Christmas Day is a board game followed by quizzes and charades; whereas, those in Italy are more likely to play a card game, followed by board games or bingo. Both nations agree that the worst thing you could do on Christmas Day is insult the host.

Anecdotally, Harvey Nichols Style Concierge, the luxury retailer’s team of expert style advisors in personal shopping, have reported an increase in interest and requests for Italian fashion for the festive party season, and that more and more customers are planning to swap their pyjamas and onesies for a more dressed up look on Christmas Day this year – perhaps inspired by the Italian tradition to wear a more stylish outfit on 25 December.

Sepideh Shayan, Head of Style Concierge, says: “We noticed a real move towards requests for help finding and styling Christmas Day outfits in 2015. Already this year we’ve had many enquiries about Christmas Day outfitting, and the majority of our festive party wear appointments have focussed on looks that would work for both a party and the 25 December. Our customers no longer seem to be as interested in the perfect cashmere onesie and are looking for a more stylish look, such as chic separates or tailored jumpsuits.” 

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