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Department store Harvey Nichols has unexpectedly parted ways with its long-term creative agency Adam&Eve/DDB after 17 years.

The agency was told the news this morning. In a brief statement, its group chief executive James Murphy said: “This is sudden news and it’s sad news”, adding that the team wishes “Harvey Nichols all the best”.

The news comes three months after a conspicuous lack of a Christmas ad from the brand, usually known and lauded for its festive creative.

More notably, it comes just nine days after Deborah Bee, the department store’s group marketing and creative director, joined the company.

Adam&Eve/DDB confirmed that Bee herself called the agency to inform she would be firing it from the account with immediate effect.

The agency was behind popular and critically acclaimed spots such as ‘Walk of Shame’, ‘Shoplifters’ and ‘Sorry, I Spent it on Myself’. The latter two spots were awarded multiple Grands Prix at Cannes Lions in 2016 and 2014 respectively.

Yet despite the size of its awards cabinet, Harvey Nichols has been struggling financially, posting a £6.7m loss in December last year.

Chief executive Stacey Cartwright said it had been “a challenging year for the group” due in part to the refurbishment costs of its flagship Knightsbridge store.

Bee joined the company on 5 March, having spent 12 years working for rival Harrods in roles spanning creative, marketing and editorial. She replaced Shadi Halliwell, who was hired as Three's chief marketing officer in June 2017.

Daniela Rinaldi, Harvey Nichols’ co-chief operating officer, said of Bee’s appointment: “This is an exciting time for Harvey Nichols and her expertise and experience will help strengthen our brand and business.”