The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show exits network TV
After a nearly two-decade run, the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show is leaving network television.
In an internal memo sent out last week, Les Wexner, CEO of L Brands, the parent company of Victoria’s Secret, said it has been “taking a fresh look at every aspect” of the lingerie chain’s business and the brand “must evolve and change to grow.”
“With that in mind, we have decided to rethink the traditional Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show,” he wrote. “Going forward we don’t believe network television is the right fit.”
The statement continued, “In 2019 and beyond, we’re focusing on developing exciting and dynamic content and a new kind of event — delivered to our customers on platforms that she’s glued to … and in ways that will push the boundaries of fashion in the global digital age.”
No additional specifics were provided.
The show, featuring supermodels wearing extravagant costumes such as diamond-encrusted bras as well as performances by pop stars, saw ratings drop 30 percent last year to record lows. The New York Times wrote that the event had initially been hailed “as a stroke of marketing genius — a commercial for the Victoria’s Secret brand packaged as a prime-time special.”
Critics have long asserted the event objectifies women, and those complaints have rung louder in recent years in chorus with female empowerment movements. Victoria’s Secret’s avoidance of using plus-sized models has also stoked controversy.
The brand’s overall hyper-sexualized, ultra-glamorous imagery remains a foundation of its positioning even as trendy, newer labels, such as American Eagle Outfitters’ Aerie, ThirdLove and Adore Me, are earning praise for embracing body-positive messages by featuring everyday women in a wide range of body types in their advertising.
Victoria’s Secret’s struggles in recent years have also come as product trends have shifted away from the push-up bras the chain has traditionally been known for.
Last year, Victoria’s Secret experimented with streaming the show online on ABC, on the ABC app and through YouTube TV and Hulu Live. More digital exploration is expected as well as steps to make the event more inclusive.
- Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show Says Goodbye to Network Television – The New York Times
- Victoria’s Secret to ‘re-think’ fashion show, says national television is not ‘right fit’ – USA Today
- Victoria’s Secret Is Giving Its Fashion Show a ‘Rethink’ – Bloomberg
- Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show To Leave Network TV – Advertising Age
- Victoria’s Secret ‘rethinking’ annual fashion show, says network TV not ‘right fit’ – CNBC
- Sexy isn’t selling anymore for Victoria’s Secret – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: How would you reinvent the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show? Can Victoria’s Secret use the event to reshape its image?
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7 Comments on "The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show exits network TV"
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Principal, Cathy Hotka & Associates
In its first years the fashion show was an effective publicity stunt, but the female empowerment movement and criticism of shape-shaming have caused most of us to think differently. Victoria’s Secret should have a new mission: to be the go-to lingerie brand for every woman.
Founder, Salient Commerce Consulting
Can they use it to re-shape? Absolutely, and literally. They’re behind the curve in normal-size and plus-size models showcasing everyday wear. They’re stuck in their old ways (which is much more a symptom of their culture as a company).
How about this – Have a contest for three “next generation models” that are normal aspiring people. Create a documentary about that journey and the contest, and then have someone “win” the context at the end of the runway show.
The mistake LBI is making is that the store is about them (the show) and not the consumer (the actual story hero).
President/CEO, The Retail Doctor
First thing: get a woman CEO. The market has moved on and it’s time management should as well.
EVP Thought Leadership, Marketing, WD Partners
First of all, ditch the Glamazons. Use people instead. Second, hyperventilate the social platforms to no end, including influencers. And third, understand that “aspirational” doesn’t have to happen in Bora Bora, it can happen in your own home.
Having said that, “no TV” is a good first step. And I do think they can do it as stated above. In fact, they’re probably WAY ahead of us. With over 60 percent of market share, they certainly have an attentive audience.
Principal, KIZER & BENDER Speaking
It’s about time that Victoria’s Secret realized its brand needs to evolve. Rethinking – removing – the fashion show from TV makes sense, especially since it has been bleeding viewers. And who really thought its target audience was female?
To reinvent it, I’d start by bringing it up to speed with the times. Victoria’s Secret is a pretty store in malls that sells lingerie. Its customers are not the glamazons pushed by the brand; that body type isn’t even aspirational. Women come in all shapes and sizes and we want to shop with retailers who are inclusive, not exclusive.
Television isn’t the medium; only hard core fans will watch what is essentially an hour long commercial. Stream the fashions online, connect via social medias – there are so many opportunities available. Victoria’s Secret needs to show the world it understands women don’t have to be 6’ and 100 pounds to be beautiful.
Contributing Editor, RetailWire; Founder and CEO, Vision First
LBI was successful with its glitzy approach at one point, but it has not evolved as its market (real women) changed. The medium — TV — is not the problem, the message, approach and CEO gender are wrong for today’s consumers.
Isn’t it about time that advertising is reflects the reality of its customers?
Retail Transformation Thought Leader, Advisor, & Strategist
While they may still have a majority market share, they are starting to bleed fast. Their customers have moved on and no longer want to see models that don’t look like every woman, no matter what body type they may be. Competitors have already done this and showing success. A good start is ending the current iteration of the fashion show on TV and moving on to other mediums and formats. TV isn’t the problem, the message is.