You may have noticed that popular London department store Harvey Nichols has had a bit of an identity shift of late; carrier bags, logos, social media, shop front branding, and all other collateral, are currently showcasing the name ‘Holly Nichols‘. You might be wondering why? The answer is a hugely clever marketing campaign that has ran for one month only throughout September.

The underlying reason for the campaign is that Knightsbridge’s iconic store, Harvey Nichols, has launched a new First Floor, filled with starry women’s designer labels including Chloé, Off-White, Stella, Dries, Louboutin, Loewe, Balenciaga and many more. Tasked with raising awareness of this and promoting all that this means for the business, the marketing team combined this commercial news with the plight of women who, over a century ago, were fighting for equality and recognition. It’s hugely contextually relevant, given that 2018 marks the centenary year of women achieving the right to vote.

A lot of the campaign centres around the fact that, back in March 1912, unprecedented window smashing campaigns were taking place across London’s West End in a protest for women’s rights. As part of the marketing campaign, and under the branding of Holly Nichols, the department store followed in the steps of these women by making a statement and publicly smashing their main display window. Joined by Emmeline Pankhurst’s great-granddaughter, Helen Pankhurst and other fantastic women, together they re-created history and celebrated what women had achieved since the early 1900s. This was highly publicised in many news outlets, ensuring people heard far and wide about the campaign.

As Harvey/Holly Nichols write on their website:

This is the year of the woman.
A celebration of you being you.
A celebration of all of us being all of us.
United in HONOURING female empowerment.
(In high-top sneakers and a really good lip colour).

The campaign also feeds into the Mayor of London’s #BehindEveryGreatCity campaign. It isn’t just Harvey Nichols taking part either; Harrods and Fortnum & Mason are also joining in by giving their window displays a makeover, as well as featuring shattered glass to pay tribute to the 1912 protests.

Deeds, Not Words

Emmeline Pankhurst

Emmeline Pankhurst and her daughters formed The Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) in 1903. They are best known as the “Suffragettes”  and became known for their unprecedented protests. Their aim was to win women the right to vote.

Not only is there a smashed window, but Harvey Nichols made sure to change their main sign outside their department store to Holly Nichols. They filled the pavements outside their store with photo-worthy stencilled quotes from influential women, which have been filling social media feeds. They also created a trending hashtag #HelloHollyNichols, which you can follow on Instagram to join in on the campaign. It has created a home for all content to be archived in, and has helped raised awareness in the messaging for what they’re attempting to achieve.

The marketing campaign has been a fabulously bold move for a business that thrives on its identity and world-wide recognised brand name. It could have caused huge confusion, or been dismissed (as has largely been the case with the John Lewis and Partners name change, which struggled to cause much of a stir in comparison).

What Harvey/Holly Nichols has done has certainly worked in terms of wowing the members of the public. The business has successfully created the perfect marketing campaign by combining their celebration of their newly refurbished First Floor womenswear section (which in some instances could slip by without much attention) and remembering the 100th year of women winning the right to vote. It’s clever because it taps into something many people are hugely passionate about, regardless of their feeling on clothes and fashion. It goes beyond commercialism and capitalism, and instead focusses on the fight for women to be more than just the clothes on their back.

Read more about the Holly Nichols Campaign.

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