Victoria’s Secret unveils latest message in branding revamp

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Live Brief:

  • Victoria’s Secret continues its female-empowerment push with a new marketing campaign, “Undefinable,” that includes A-listers like Bella Hadid and Hailey Bieber and up-and-coming country singer Brittany Spencer, among others.

  • Throughout October “an experiential and immersive exploration” of the campaign will be featured at the company’s Manhattan flagship on 5th Avenue, via various channels in major cities including New York and Los Angeles, and more broadly via social media, the company said.

  • The brand enlisted fashion photographer Harley Weir, according to a Monday press release from the company.

Live Insight:

Victoria’s Secret effort to flip its marketing approach to be more inclusive and respectful toward women has been relentless.

This latest iteration is meant to “really cement our brand positioning and our commitment to our revolution and transformation,” and will last more than a season, according to a statement from Victoria’s Secret Head Creative Director Raúl Martinez.

It’s unclear how helpful it’s been to sales so far, however. In July the company laid off 5% of its corporate workforce and merged its namesake and Pink brands under the same leadership. In its most recent quarter store visits were down, net sales fell 6%, comps fell 8% and profits declined, and the retailer lowered its outlook for the year.

The results were in part due to the hit discretionary spending has taken amid stubborn inflation, though UBS analyst Jay Sole in August noted that they also indicate that the brand transformation may take longer than anticipated.

Victoria’s Secret’s changes are evident in stores, where mannequins are more size-inclusive and merchandise quality has improved somewhat, but it has more work to do to catch up, according to Jane Hali & Associates analyst Jessica Ramírez. The brand stuck to an outdated marketing message and merchandising approach for years while rivals focused on inclusivity, potential and fit, and took market share, she said by phone.

“They’re the ones doing things after everyone else has done it,” Ramírez said. “Victoria’s Secret has period underwear now, but period underwear came from one of the small brands in the market. Meanwhile the intimates category has gotten highly competitive, and they were very late to the game, not only with inclusivity but actually getting a bra that fits women to their size.”

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