Harvey Nichols “Walk of Shame”

Upscale UK retailer Harvey Nichols recently launched a stir-causing ad on their YouTube channel, titled “The Walk of Shame,” which we enjoyed and wanted to share.

In the spot, a series of women stumble along in ill-fitting dresses “the morning after the night before” to a delicate piano rendition of “Morning Has Broken.”  They teeter up and down subway stairs, partake in medicinal breakfast sandwiches, and pause mid-stride trying to avoid being ill on a sidewalk.  Although it’s UK-based, it is relatable to any woman who’s ever enjoyed too much holiday cheer (which is most of us) and falls squarely in the “funny-because-it’s-true” category.  The screen fades to black, and the viewer is urged to “Avoid the Walk of Shame this Season” before we cut to a lovely young woman, also heading home in the early morning light, but this time wearing a flattering, high-necked dress that moves with her instead of riding simultaneously down and up.  Finally, we are asked to “Share your #walkofshame.”

The ad has inspired a bit of controversy (which I’m sure HN expected and welcomes).  Some viewers complain larger and more realistic women were chosen for its first half, whereas the actress at the end is a thin, beautiful model.  I found the focus throughout to instead be on the dresses; although the final actress was undeniably pretty, the others were certainly attractive as well … just badly dressed.  The spot is more about beautiful, tailored clothes than body image.

Said Harvey Nichols group press and marketing director Julia Bowe (rather cheekily, as the Brits say), “We know that a fabulous outfit can cover a multitude of sins.”

HN’s message is clear: don’t just dig an old, cheap or ill-fitting cocktail dress out of the back of your closet; come to Harvey Nichols for a new frock and feel confident, beautiful, and well-covered on your “Walk of Shame” … thus making the walk not very “shameful” at all.

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April 13, 2024
by Mary Lou Quinlan

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