Harvey Nicks and Wet Crotches
From the Telegraph 03/10/12:
An advert for a Harvey Nichols sale has escaped censure despite attracting 105 complaints that it pictured people who had apparently wet themselves with excitement.
The campaign for the upmarket department store featured well-dressed women and a man each with a wet stain in their groin area accompanied by text stating: "The Harvey Nichols sale. Try to contain your excitement."
Oooh. Wet crotch!
Personally, I think the lady pictured is far more likely to have pis*ed herself at the outrageous prices charged by Harvey Nicks rather than anything else.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) received 94 complaints that the ad was offensive for implying that the people had wet themselves with excitement while 29 said the ads would cause distress and serious offence to people with bladder problems.
Nah – I’m sure they’ve got a good sense of humour. They’d have to.
Harvey Nichols said it had attempted to capture excitement about the sale in a light-hearted and humorous way by a visual representation of the well-known phrase "I was so excited, I nearly wet myself."
It suggested that some of the complainants were assuming offence on behalf of others, and provided the ASA with three blog entries from people with bladder problems who found the ads amusing.
Rejecting the complaints, the ASA acknowledged that the concept of "wetting oneself with excitement" was well known and often used in the media and in speech in a light-hearted manner, but noted that images of someone wetting themselves with excitement were "nonetheless unusual".
Unusual isn’t the word. What a terrible advertisement for Harvey Nicks. I, for one, am going to perpetually associate them and their brand with urine stained clothes from now on. Expensive urine-stained clothes admittedly, but still urine stained.
Eeupweh. I can smell it from here.
I really don’t know where the ASA get some of their ideas as to what constitutes “material capable of causing offence”.
Personally, I find the recent Costa ad of those heads bouncing and bopping around in coffee beans very off-putting. When they start rotating (you know, the Exorcist style) I start to feel rather lightheaded.