Oh no, I am ashamed to say that this made me laugh...

This advert is so very obviously very wrong, but it still made me laugh in the same way I laugh at bad taste disaster jokes! The biggest offence is Harvey Nicks comment on You Tube that,
"Harvey Nichols wishes everyone a very Merry Christmas. The must-have accessory this Christmas is canine."

Harvey Nicks don't sell puppies thankfully, but they do next door at Harrods.
Do we have the strength for another campaign against a major retailer...? And I can see from the comments on You Tube that war has already broken out.
But I thought I'd share it with you and listen to what you think.
Surely a chunky donation to Dogs Trust is in order at the very least for 'borrowing' their slogan to actually encourage the buying of dogs at Christmas...

Just got this comment in from Clarissa Baldwin OBE, the Chief Executive of Dogs Trust and the inventor of the phrase "A dog is for life not just Christmas":

 “Dogs Trust is deeply disappointed and concerned by the content of this Harvey Nichols advert. While it may be intended as a tongue in cheek reference to the Dogs Trust slogan ‘A Dog is For Life, Not Just For Christmas’, the depiction of dogs as gifts is extremely irresponsible and undermines the serious message behind this famous saying, which was born out of a need to prevent dogs from being bought as presents for Christmas only to be discarded when the novelty wears off.
"There will be some who view this advert at face value and see nothing wrong with purchasing a puppy on a whim as a gift. Wrapping up dogs with bows and gift tags for humour’s sake is in poor taste and we would strongly urge Harvey Nichols to rethink this advert. We have made contact with Harvey Nichols directly to open up a dialogue about this and we would welcome a response.”

and a comment just in from Wood Green:
Head of Animal Welfare Shelley Wooding said: “While we can see from the final clip of the advert that Harvey Nichols is trying to emphasise the point that dogs are for life and not just for Christmas, there are a number of animal welfare issues within the advert which sadly over look this key message.
"Dogs are not accessories that can be stored in a handbag or even a drawer. Dogs are living beings which are too often thought of as an accessory that can be discarded or replaced like the latest fashions.
As a result of this, their emotional and physical needs are over looked and they are unable to express their natural behaviours.
Adverts like this do nothing to deter people from treating pets as accessories and instead as the life-long commitment and cherished part of the family that they are.”


Anonymous said…
Actually the ad did a great deal to reinforce the idea that pets are not presents, because the people buying them looked ludicrous !
Who is the dumb animal in the ad?
Mike said…
Very bad taste and a most unfortunate message, but perhaps not as bad as the message conveyed by the John Lewis advert.
Personally, think it may be a good idea to start lobbying advertising standards authority to introduce guidelines regarding the use of animals in adverts and the implications of messages the advert intends (or by virtue of its content) implies and transmits to the public.
This year there seems to have been a lot of animal exploitation by advertisers and retailers who are desperate to engage customers.
Perhaps we can be more effective in stopping this sort of abuse next year if we use the interim period to organise a strong lobby group.
Lucy King said…
Really? People really think this advert will make people waltz next door and buy a dog?

The message at the end is 'not just for Christmas' - surely that is exactly what we want to reinforce about dogs?

Yes, the advert is stupid and a bit daft, but it's nothing like the John Lewis advert which could potentially be taken the wrong way.

I just don't see that the average Joe Bloggs would watch an advert and buy a dog based on the advert?
Sue said…
I agree completly with Mike. If everyone starts now and makes the powers that be and the general public aware we stand a chance to make a difference.Advertising is and important issue and can be both negative and positive lets see if positive for all dogs comes to the fore.
Richard said…
The sales assistant looks rather spookily like the blessed Victoria!

Intentional? or do they all look like that in Harvey Nicks?

I think that if you don't get the irony, then you're likely to have the wrong attitude anyway. I think we could just about let this one go -- IF they put right pinching a serious slogan without any recompense!!!
Anonymous said…
I agree, very tongue in cheek, and it made the human look stupid for thinking of a dog as an accessory, but, the general public do not always think like that, and you will get some thinking they want one in a certain colour to go with the outfit!
Winnie said…
I agree with Mike that the John Lewis advert was worse. I understand that they are making the customers and the shop assistants look ridiculous to underline the fact that most people now recognise buying animals for Christmas, and treating them as commodities in genral, is wrong....but I think it was a poor decision to parody Dogs Trust's copyrighted slogan coined by Clarrisa herself and Harvey Nicks SHOULD at the very least make a generous donation to Dogs Trust as some recompense.
twitter alter ego @blueskinnydog said…
You can complain via the ASA website but I also think Mike speaks a lot of sense. The last year or two have seen a marked increase in dog ownership for 'fashion' statements and sadly not just handbag dogs but dangerous dogs (or rather dangerous owners). The advertising industry should be being more careful about the message it sends yet with John Lewis and this it seems to be worse than normal. I work in TV drama and we have strict compliance rules for use and representation of animals. It should be even stricter in advertising in my view.
Blackshuck said…
I think its so ludicrously tongue in cheek that it bears no comparison with the John Lewis advert, and it made me laugh!

It would be nice to emphasise the point at the end, maybe a reference to the Dogs Trust as they are using their slogan.
Anonymous said…
As a former dog rescue coordinator, I can confirm that yes, the British public ARE that stupid. Many will not see any message, just 'oh they are so cute - I WANT one!'

The even sadder thing is that they won't go to a rescue for one either...
Treworga said…
I have 3 dogs, one of which is a rescue. I also actively support the campaigns against puppy farming and sales through pet shops.

However, I haven't lost my sense of humour or grip on reality. The idea that even the dimmest chav half-wit would rush out to buy a dog purely on the strength of seeing this tongue in cheek ad is even more ludicrous than the humans depicted in it.

Yes, Dogs Trust should get a donation as a decent gesture, but let's not lose credibility for the genuine animal causes by going over the top and protesting about everything involving dogs because we think it might be misconstrued.
Anonymous said…
Appalling, far worse than the John Lewis ad
Claire M said…
Surely we should argue that ALL adverts decpicting dogs inappropriately be banned. If ONE person acts irresponsibly as the result of seeing an advert, then that's one person too many - and no-one can guarantee that won't happen!
Winnie said…
Has Harvey Nichols edited what it originally said under the video on You Tube?

I see it now says:
"Harvey Nichols wishes everyone a very Merry Christmas.
Although Dogs Trust was not involved with this video we fully support the charity's famous slogan: A Dog is for Life, not just for Christmas. To see their Christmas message please go to: www.adogisforlife.com"
Beverley Cuddy said…
Well spotted Winnie! That is a change! Before it said "The Christmas the must-have accessory is canine."

Popular Posts