Wednesday Special Report >>> Victoria’s Secret's Ambitious Rebranding - Will It Work?
Updated: Oct 13
Picture Source: Pinterest website
Victoria’s Secret is a popular clothing and lingerie company based in the US. They are well known for their flamboyant fashion shows and high visibility branding. However, the company has been under constant scrutiny recently for selling women a false image of beauty and having a narrow minded, sexist and outdated concept of what it is, and this approach has slowly chipped away at their net profits and revenue. Now, they are keen to rebrand themselves and change their approach to empower women instead of trying to model a sculpture of what they should look like.
The Previous Message
Victoria’s Secret was a brand founded in 1977 with the idea of helping men shop for lingerie easier. Since its inception, Victoria’s Secret never really focused on women themselves which is a problem as the company is now targeted at women but was fundamentally founded on a male interpretation of what beauty should be. The name in itself is a stark reminder of what the intentions were.
Victoria’s Secret defined what it meant to be “beautiful” for many women throughout the years. Using supermodels and exuberant fashion shows, they sculpted the image in people’s minds as to what it should be. However, what they actually ended up selling instead was an unrealistic standard of beauty to the masses. Whilst most of their competitors started moving away from the traditional stereotype and started to celebrate women of all body types with multiple products and a much healthier message to women, Victoria’s Secret was slow to adapt, and remained fixed on their ideals.
Victoria’s Secret’s “Pink” line which is targeted at the younger female demographic such as teenagers, has recently had a hit to sales when accusations stirred about oversexualised advertisements targeted at teenagers. This not only exposes them to explicit content but also makes them question their own physical attributes in a negative and harmful way. It's the same story for Victoria Secrets main line of clothing and branding as well.
Victoria’s Secret is well known for their show stopping and extravagant fashion shows featuring their star models named “Angels”. However there is a lot that goes on behind the curtains that goes unnoticed. The whole operation is run by two powerful men, Les Wexner former owner of Victoria’s Secrets and Former Chief Marketing officer Ed Razek, who were both entrenched in allegations of misogyny and harassment. It was even recently revealed that Lex Wexner had close ties to millionaire sex offender Jeffrey Epstien.
- Lex Wexner (L) and Ed Razek (R) Picture Source- Business of Fashion Website
Former Victoria’s Secret model Bridget Malcolm exposed how badly she was treated. She revealed that her agents pushed her to lose more weight and do drugs even when she was a minor. She also commented that Ed Razek said that her body “didn't look good enough ” for the 2016 Victoria Secret Fashion show, revealing how much models are pressured to lose weight to meet this standard. There are multiple horrific and heartbreaking stories like this on how models are mistreated and encouraged to risk their own physical and mental health to sustain this unrealistic standard of beauty in the industry.
Victoria’s Secret was a company that did more harm than good in terms of encouraging and empowering women, and with the array of information available to consumers, they now understand just how misogynistic the company and everything they stood for really was.
A Fresh Take
Now they are attempting an ambitious rebranding of the entire company, in order to recast their image as one that empowers women. They are replacing their “Angels” with seven new brand ambassadors that are famous for their achievements. Amongst them are Megan Rapione, a world famous soccer star and gender equality campaigner, Eileen Gu, the 17-year-old skier and upcoming Olympian, and Priyanka Chopra Jonas who is a well known Indian actress and tech investor.
- Megan Rapione Picture Source: Orange County Register website
Victoria’s Secret is hoping now to begin afresh with more women leaders taking charge of the company and hoping to become a voice of female empowerment. Les Wexner and Ed Razek will not be part of this new Victoria's Secret rebranding. The new Victoria Secret will look towards creating a different idea of beauty and promoting a wider range of products which come in many different sizes.
But will it work? With its reputation in the industry, will consumers buy and accept their new brand image? It will all depend on how forward thinking, inclusive and non-discriminatory their new brand is and how well they distance themselves from their old, harmful business practices to convince their customers that they can change their ways for the better.
October 13th 2021 | 3.00 PM