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Rebranding products – and astute copywriting to match – makes even gravel look attractive

Harvey Nichols has joined the Christmas marketing fray with a concept that’s got some real guts. The ‘Sorry, I Spent It On Myself’ idea taps into the temptation that many Christmas shoppers have to ditch their list and splash out on something they want instead.

The campaign has kicked off with a TV and web advert celebrating the ‘season of self-indulgence’. It shows families unwrapping some, shall we say, uninspired gift choices. The gift-givers are revealed to have bought the cheap and cheerful presents at Harvey Nichols and spent the rest on themselves.

The products from the ad have been specially created to join the campaign, and can be bought online or in stores by anyone who thinks it perfectly reasonable to gift a pack of toothpicks this Christmas. The ‘For Them’ section of the Harvey Nichols online shop is a bold and shameless masterclass in how ‘M&S-style’ luxury copywriting can bring appeal, charm and a potentially higher price tag to everyday items. A handful of ‘Authentic Lincolnshire gravel’ could be yours for £1.61 – who can resist?

It might seem a little odd to charge £1.89 for a Christmas lunch in a tin (‘tin contains: baked beans’). Even so, I’m not afraid to admit that I love this entire idea. Alongside the high-end, tongue-firmly-in-cheek copy, the deliberately minimalist packaging inspired by budget brands still manages to look classier than anyone else’s.

I also reserve a lot of envy and admiration for the copywriter who can now put ‘Convinced people to buy paperclips and plastic door stops as Christmas presents’ on their CV. Pitching the idea in the first place must have been a big risk.

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