Harvey Norman Shonky nomination

Whilst there are plenty of things that Harvey Norman deserves a Spot-A-Shonky nomination for, I would like to nominate them for one for their advertising.

Irrespective of whatever product category a Harvey Norman ad is for, it always ends in “Your XYZ specialist”.

Your air-conditioning specialist.
Your cooking specialist.
Your computer specialist.
Your bedding specialist.
Your outdoor furniture specialist.
Etc, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc.

In reality, it is a classic case of “Jack of all trades, master of none”.




This is not unique to HN. It’s a given part of today’s marketing hype. It’s a word very open to interpretation. As is also the average consumer response to it’s usage.

The English language encourages ambiguity of meaning. Do you take specialist literally, or as found in common usage, or in context?

Ownership of what HN are suggesting is their specialty might legally rest with them.

It’s possible they are specialists in having a wide range of quality stock in each area? It might be they are experts at presenting and marketing the product to the customer?

In respect of any subsequent purchase the customer is typically expected to know what they require and make the right decision. ‘Caveat emptor’.

If’s another good reason to use Choice to help close the gap in product knowledge for the ‘specialist’ consumer.

P.S. HN is not on my list of preferred shopping experiences. It once was, mainly because it was the first to bring up to date and relatively affordable products into some very conservative one retailer towns in regional Australia.


If anyone still needed convincing as to just what Harvey Norman apparently considers the level of their customers’ intelligence to be, their current SBS TV ads removes any doubt.

It is for technology products and starts with an offer of a laptop for $198.00.

It then states “That is under $200.00”.


Perhaps they are specialists in low intelligence customers. :slight_smile:

In reality I find Harvey Norman to have its good points and its bad points.


That is classic marketing where the eg. $200 mark makes an impression on most of us as being ‘more expensive’ when comparing prices as compared to even a cent less. That is why products are priced at. eg $19.99 rather than $20. It looks cheaper even when we pay with cash and both are the same cash amount.

Showing a price of $198.00 and then referencing it is under $200.00 is a proven psychological tactic that is not just aimed at a particular intelligence level. Some of us might find it humorous but reality is that is how advertising works and ‘we’ respond.

That presentation is not shonky from my vantage point, although I’ll agree marketing and advertising can be pretty shonky at times.

A number of relevant points about pricing psychology are here. Scan past the web links and there is some text.


I’m sure I promised myself I’d never go there again - but I did buy something there recently that I couldn’t get anywhere else. The price was good and I got a discount via the purchasing method and the sale went without a hitch.

I did feel dirty though. Needed a shower afterwards …


They must have run out of the “disposable” laptops as the TV ads today had the lowest priced models as under $298.00.

No mention of under $300.00 or $200.00.

Perhaps Harvey Norman can add “Your racial discrimmination specialists” to the list.

Social media is always quick to label something *ist as part of the shutdown culture. Perhaps the store should have anticipated that outcome however. In that case they should either not have put up the sign, or they should have judged that there is a net benefit and be prepared to defend their position.

What’s really funny is that:

a) It is questionable as to whether Harvey Norman is selling only Australian made mattresses.

b) A certain well known Australian mattress manufacturer and vendor, who in their advertising publicly chastises Harvey Norman for HN’s mattresses, uses similar, shall we say, nationalistic comments on their web site, but referencing the much earlier bird flu outbreak rather than coronavirus. Not much is new in the world.

There may well be arguments in favour of supporting local manufacturers and local jobs, and other considerations, even if it means that the mattress costs you more.

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I was looking to buy a Microsoft Surface Pro 7 tablet. I checked the MS store and my configuration was $1,060 recommended retail. HN was about to have a technology sale, so I waited … Sure enough my MS Pro 7 was 15% off! Yay! Checked into HN - it was 15% off alright, but they had increased the price so that 15% off bought it back to - you guessed it - $1,060! I bought one direct from MS.
Then HN had another sale MS Pro 7 $185 off which was actually $62 only below the recommended retail.

To be fair, they can do some good pricing. HN is the only electrical retailer in town, so I have bought the likes of a microwave oven, various phone cables etc. They give me a discount each time. The best was the microwave where I asked to be left alone with my Choice magazines and the oven range. When I settled on a Choice recommended model, they gave me a $120 discount off the retail (as listed in Choice) which made it a very good buy - best microwave I have ever had.


Skating on thin ice? There are laws around what you can claim is a discount. However you don’t tell us what the actual selling price at HN was before the sale. The RRP as published by Microsoft is not particularly meaningful i.e. unless HN was actually selling at RRP before the sale. (There are also laws around what a manufacturer can do to enforce sale at the RRP.)

Best possible spin regarding the HN tech sale might be that they wanted to make the message simple - “15% off all technology products” - but there were certain technology products that they didn’t want to sell at a discount - so they increased the price of those certain products so that the net effect for those products was no change in price.

In other words, if they hadn’t done that and their message were “15% off all* technology products” you can bet that someone would still be writing a post in this topic complaining about it. :slight_smile:

* excludes certain products as marked


Selling price before the “sale” was $1060. Only certain computers, tablets were discounted. My chosen MS Surface Pro 7 was part of this sale. It was advertised as $1,060, save $185. That implies the “normal” price was $1,245.

There have been several posts (on the Choice Community) about “sales” that weren’t sales - eg Clearance, Closing Down; a retailer is not obliged to offer a lower price, but to suggest that it has been discounted is (to my mind) deceptive.

It has been a long-term strategy, when a price increase is imminent, to offer the product at the usual price, but advertised as a discount on the new price. After the sale the item is then at the increased price and the consumer who remembers buying it “on sale” now thinks they got a bargain as they only remember the sale price.


Raising prices and then discounting them?


Some more “kudos” for harvey Norman.

It does not appear that any of Gerry Harvey’s personal or corporate acts have made a dent in HN’s profitability that doubled last year. His customers (perhaps most customers?) do not care who they buy from as long as they think they have a good deal, or it is the only place they can buy ‘it’.

I believe a lot of them buy there for the “interest free” terms and the “bonus” gift cards.

I know one family who keep going back there because of this despite the disgusting after sales service.

To be fair, the post did tell Harvey Norman staff to “go f… yourselves” (where that text was not censored in the original twit [sic] but I have chosen to censor it for this forum).

Also, anyone can write any old BS on social media and do so anonymously. There aren’t a lot of facts in evidence about the true circumstances surrounding the departure of the former employee, if indeed the person is a former employee.

The facepalm (and the other emoji, which I can’t discern) were in response to the entire twit.

So, yeah, I will look at features, quality, price, service … and ignore the noise. (“Interest free” and “bonus gift cards” are not of interest to me but maybe to some.) I don’t buy a lot of stuff at HN but nor will I be boycotting it.

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I agree and it is also highly possible the post isn’t genuine but part of the current anti-HN movement. The more provocative a post is, the more it gets noticed. I take such news articles with a grain of salt.

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Yet HN did not deal with it very well, reflecting something about their corporate culture.


They should have ignored it.