HIGH street giant Harvey Nichols has come under fire for a "disgusting" ad campaign that depicts a woman wetting herself.
Harvey Nichols said: "We developed the campaign to promote our summer sale and capture the excitement in a light-hearted, humorous way."
The luxury chain's latest mailshots have angered shoppers who have branded them "crass" and off-putting. It has one store in Ireland at the Dundrum Town Centre.
Judging by the reaction, the flyers which have been sent to thousands of potential customers around Britain to promote a sale, have clearly offended sensitive shoppers.
They show a woman with her clothes soaked around the groin area next to the slogan: "The Harvey Nichols Sale.. Try To Contain Your Excitment."
On micro-blogging site Twitter, some people have already shown their disgust for the ads. One user said: "Really, Harvey Nicks? Really? They're certainly pushing the boundaries."
Another user tweeted: "you are kidding about these aren't you? *checkscalendar*"
One woman posted: "that absolutely does not make me the slightest bit inclined to shop there!"
Twitter: Lizzie Stabler - Not so keen on the latest Harvey Nichols advertising campaign http://t.co/VR8iVaCj It doesn't beat their "Walk of Shame" Christmas ad.
One tweet read: "Anyone in advertising? Even if not - take a look at the WORST advertising I've ever seen & it's for @Harvey_Nichols"
Other tweets on the subject included: "that's a 'NOT FUNNY' from me... £Crass", "sorry @Harvey_Nichols but they're absolutely disgusting" and "we received this in the post, hideous! It makes me think of their sale goods as being soiled :("
One poster merely said: "Oh how the mighty have fallen!"
Defending its latest ads, a spokeswoman for Harvey Nichols said: "We developed the campaign to promote our summer sale and capture the excitement in a light-hearted, humorous way.
"The images in our advertising were designed to be a visual representation of a well-known phrase.
"During the production of the campaign, we researched the use of this expression in popular culture and social media and were satisfied that is is both commonplace and invariably used in a playful, inoffensive manner, which was in-keeping with the tongue-in-cheek spirit in which we intended our campaign to be taken."
Twitter: Alan Briggs - @thejeremyvine My colleague @uksalesmentor and I are shocked by the new Harvey Nichols advert what do you and your followers think?...
This is not the first time the store has ignited the fury of its customers with its ads, with the British Advertising Standards Agency receiving complaints last December over a TV promo that showed women making the 'walk of shame'. The advert, which sparked complaints of sexism, showed a variety of disheveled women in short, figure-hugging dresses and high heels making their way home after one night stands.
A slogan saying "avoid the walk of shame this season" then appears and is followed by a shot of a well-dressed woman confidently returning home at dawn. She is wearing a dress from Harvey Nichols, unlike the other women.
The Advertising Standards Authority ruled that the depiction of women in this way was "unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence" but the ruling drew criticism that the ads condoned casual sex.
However, the watchdog dismissed Harvey Nichols' claim that the women in the ads had not necessarily had one-night stands. By using the phrase "walk of shame" the implication "was that the women had had casual sex the previous night".
"We acknowledged that some people might find the theme of the ad distasteful, but we concluded that it was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence," the ASA said.