After much speculation on the Internet, the 2019 Victoria’s Secret fashion show was cancelled on November 21st.
Victoria’s Secret’s parent company, L Brands, made the announcement on their quarterly earnings call with an aim of evolving the marketing of the lingerie retail giant.
Yet the reasoning, as many have said on social media, seems too broad. The CEO of L Brands, Les Wexner, said TV may not be the way to go due to declining viewership.
Over recent months though, his relationship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein has landed Wexner in hot water. It wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility that due to Epstein’s previous claims of being a Victoria’s Secret model scout and involvement in sex trafficking has put the brand in an even more negative light.
On top of this, Victoria’s Secret has failed to diversify their runway. They still cater to straight size models, claiming there is no interest in a plus-sized runway show. They’ve refused to cast transgender models in their show and have used outdated terms for the community in public interviews.
In a day when a what a brand’s message is and what they support is strong, Victoria’s Secret is failing. They haven’t evolved with the times both socially or marketing wise like their competitors.
Look at Savage x Fenty, Aerie, and ThirdLove. These brands have made it crystal clear their clientele is anyone identifying as a woman. No matter your size, shape, color, all of that is irrelevant. All that matters is your comfortability and that, hopefully, you see yourself in some way in their ads. They make it clear you are perfect how you are and try to work against societal ideals of how a woman should look.
While I can point out transgressions like this all day, I can also find the truth in the company’s decision.
Their fashion show, which has aired since 2001, is not as lucrative as it once was. In 2018 it had 3.3 million viewers. In 2016 and 2013 the show had 6.7 million and 9.7 million respectively. The company is no longer seeing a boost in sales the day after the show like they used to.
Maybe not having a Victoria’s Secret fashion show this month is for the best though. Women aren’t solely interested in stringy, sexy lingerie anymore. They want to feel comfortable too. Sometimes that takes priority over sexiness.
No brand is perfect. But today, people aren’t supporting a brand that is not inclusive. Cancelling the Victoria’s Secret fashion show is a huge step, but this won’t be the end of their media marketing. Pretty soon we will see where their drawing board will take them. We can only hope it’s more positive than what we see now.
Cover image courtesy of Seattle Times
Also published on Medium.