What the road ahead looks like for Victoria’s Secret Angelless, Marketing & Advertising News, AND BrandEquity
The secret is revealed: Victoria has a daring new look.
OUT GO the top model Angels, comes the VS Collective, a group of women known for their accomplishments and opinions.
The hope is that they will help Victoria’s Secret reconnect with buyers who are fed up with the brand’s narrow beauty standards. It’s a brave move, but will he sell lingerie? As Victoria’s Secret prepares to live as a standalone spinoff business from parent company L Brands Inc, that’s the $ 5 billion question.
The seven-member collective includes: American football star Megan Rapinoe, plus-size model Paloma Elsesser, transgender actress Valentina Sampaio, Indian actress Priyanka Chopra Jonas, 17-year-old world champion skier Eileen Gu, and the model and former refugee child Adut Akech. The group will participate in a podcast hosted by Dean Amanda de Cadenet, advise the company and appear in its advertising.
With their multi-faceted identities and militant campaigns, the VS collective shatters the one-dimensional vision of beauty offered by Angels. The about-face sends a powerful message that the old Victoria’s Secret is no more.
A break with the past was desperately needed. In the midst of the #MeToo era, the business seemed increasingly male-dominated and disconnected. Former L Brands CEO Leslie Wexner’s association with Jeffery Epstein has only further hurt the brand.
EVOLUTION OF TRENDS
Meanwhile, the company has also bumped into fashion trends. Underwired bras are being replaced by less structured bras, and the rise of athleisure means that sports bras are less about the gym than everyday life. In addition, new competitors like ThirdLove and CUUP have emerged to meet the changing needs of consumers. Brands like Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty lingerie line are always feeling more authentically inclusive.
The pop star transformed the beauty industry with 40 (now 50) different foundation shades; she did the same for the underwear with a bold color palette to flatter all skin tones and sizes. And American Eagle Outfitters Inc’s Aerie is already considered a younger, more accessible retailer. Its AerieReal campaign removed airbrushed photos in 2014.
If Victoria’s Secret is to appeal to women, it has to overcome a lack of credibility. Fortunately, there is a good sign that women’s empowerment is also present in the boardroom: six non-executive directors, including the president, are women.
But such a drastic makeover risks sounding like a cynical marketing ploy. And it won’t be easy to shake off the sexpot image the retailer has been peddling for so long, either. The approach is also a huge gamble. Despite all its difficulties, Victoria’s Secret still generated sales of more than $ 5 billion in 2020.
Stores and products must also be in sync with the new Victoria. It should be remembered that lingerie is one of the most technically complex areas of fashion – some bras have up to 30 components – so the overhaul will not be instantaneous.
And the retailer will launch collections with some of its new faces. This should help bridge the gap between its new image and what’s on the shelves.
So far, investors are giving the makeover the benefit of the doubt, but the real risk is that buyers won’t be as enthusiastic. The retailer is pivoting because customers said they want a different take on what’s beautiful. But what consumers say and what they buy can be two different things.
THE OTHER PLAYS
Victoria’s Secret Angels were once glamorous, escapist, and ambitious. The company must take this into account, because it is preparing to integrate the Collective into its campaigns. He describes his Ambassadors as an “ever-changing bunch” so new faces will likely be added over time. And the retailer will also continue to work with non-executive women. This provides some leeway in case the current seven do not respond to consumers.
In the end, the Angels must have fallen to earth. But for Victoria’s Secret to really let go of the past, her new Collective must find its wings.
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