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Italians Are Furious British Retailer Harvey Nichols Took All Their Nice Stuff

The swanky department store eschews a traditional Christmas commercial for a promotion of all things Italian.

Italians Are Furious British Retailer Harvey Nichols Took All Their Nice Stuff

WHAT: A new winter ad campaign called "Britalia" by U.K. department store, Harvey Nichols.

WHO: Harvey Nichols, adam&eveDDB

WHY WE CARE: Upmarket store Harvey Nichols, or "Harvey Nicks" as it is known in the U.K., is now well-known for producing rather mean-spirited, but often very funny ads for the holiday season. "Sorry I Spent It On Myself" set the tone in 2013 and was hugely successful, collecting a Grand Prix at Cannes Lions the following year. It was followed by "Could I be any clearer?" in 2014, which mainly involved a spiritually rather unlovely girl delivering Christmas gift demands to her relatives. Last year, the store softened its tone somewhat, by simply encouraging people to avoid "Gift Face", the rictus grin one is forced to adopt when receiving disappointing presents.

This year, Harvey Nichols is apparently opting out of the fiercely contested British Super Bowl advertising season altogether. Perhaps, tired of the annual face-off with John Lewis, it is launching "Britalia" and calling it a "global winter campaign". Not a jingle-bells in sight. There are, however, some very angry Italians. To back a promotion of Italian style and products, a 60-second film takes a scene from the Luigi Pirandello play, As You Desire Me, which is re-subtitled, leading the viewer to believe the couple depicted are incandescent with rage about Harvey Nichols depriving Italy of all its best fashion, beauty products, food and wine. You know, all the things that might make good Christmas gifts.

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