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How to Showcase Your Brand’s Unexpected Side

Authors: Jessica Gioglio Jessica Gioglio
Posted Under: Social Media
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Love freebies? You’re not alone. In a new video, luxury lifestyle retailer Harvey Nichols uses real-life footage of people shoplifting in its stores to make an important point: Get those freebies legally—with the company’s new rewards app, of course.

What’s unique about this video is the use of real-life footage. It’s not surprising that people steal from retailers, but it is interesting to see a luxury brand show real-life footage of shoplifting in their stores. Typically, luxury retailers will leverage polished, upscale creative as a way to communicate to their more refined customer base. By pulling back the curtain and sharing the attempts of some customers to steal from their stores, Harvey Nichols is showcasing a different, more human side of their brand. The footage is unexpected, compelling, and in some cases, humorous—making it great, shareable marketing.

Also interesting is the subtle bait and switch. The suspenseful music and shoplifting footage instantly makes the viewer think that this is an anti-theft video. Instead, the shoplifting storyline serves as a clever way to launch the company’s rewards app. The shoplifting storyline plays perfectly with the value proposition of the app: fabulous, yet legal freebies.

The only small con is the possibility that viewers will drop off at the end of the video, but the shoplifting footage is so compelling, they have a good chance of making it there.

Harvey Nichols Freebies

The video is supported by website and social media content using the hashtag #lovefreebies. Imagery for the social and digital channels supports the video theme, albeit in a more polished, sophisticated way that is more in line with a luxury brand. Shot in the company’s flagship Knightsbridge store in London, the images were inspired by classic black and white crime photography and feature glamorous thieves clutching luxury wares.

While it’s not clear what future marketing plans are for the new rewards app, this initiative seems perfect for a social media contest doling out fabulous freebies to fans who download and enroll in the company’s loyalty program. After all, as the campaign proves, we all love a good, legal freebie!

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