It was starting to look like Christmas advertising would be dominated by schmaltz this year, what with the M&S X Factor campaign and John Lewis’s heart-warming offering.

The advert taps into a universal experience to highlight its more affordable lines

But luxury department store Harvey Nichols has surprised everyone with a tongue in cheek look at the party season, releasing a YouTube advert centred around the idea of the ‘walk of shame’.

The ad depicts various women making their way home the morning after the night before, looking slightly dishevelled and a bit self-conscious. The message is that women who buy a suitably nice frock from Harvey Nichols won’t have the same unpleasant experience, suggesting the shame is in wearing a bad dress rather than staying out all night.

The retailer also used the Twitter hashtag #walkofshame to allow people to share their stories or opinions on the ad, which was uploaded to YouTube on December 3 and has so far had 400,000 views.

The ad has attracted plenty of attention with its insight into young people’s behaviour, although some have criticised the campaign as sexist for singling out women for such behaviour. It taps into Twitter’s ability to spread the word quickly and engage customers, and has had prominent coverage in the press. The retailer launched a young fashion offer last year in a bid to beat the downturn, but with such a strong luxury brand perhaps the word hasn’t quite got out that it sells more affordable lines as well as designer clothes. Maybe this advert will help.

Harvey Nichols Walk of Shame