I don’t like Victoria’s Secret for three reasons — their bra straps are too thin, they make patrons provide driver’s licenses during returns even if they have their original receipts, and they objectify women. (Are those “angels” even real women???) This week, the store gave me a fourth reason — they are doing pseudo-marketing to tweens and teens.
It’s been reported widely that Victoria’s Secret has a new line called Bright Young Things. This is not the case. That would be too easy to bash. Instead, the company is surreptitiously selling its PINK line to girls who are younger than their previous target audience of college girls. The departure from the college set was via marketing that featured a girl who does not look like its usual well-endowed and curvy angels. The girl, at least to me, looks to be in the 14- or 15-year-old age range. Skinny, lanky, and young wearing a pair of loose sweats.
Victoria’s Secret denies this and has responded to the discussion on its Facebook page, saying:
In response to questions we recently received, Victoria’s Secret PINK is a brand for college-aged women. Despite recent rumors, we have no plans to introduce a collection for younger women. “Bright Young Things” was a slogan used in conjunction with the college spring break tradition.
However, as someone who has a brain — not even taking into account the fact that I have followed advertising and marketing as a beat for more than a decade — I disagree. Anyone looking at the images (you can look at one of them here since VS seems to have removed them from its website) knows instantly that they are looking at tween marketing. If that doesn’t convince, maybe you should check out the actual undies that they are selling. (Again, they have been pulled from the VS website, but bloggers, thank goodness, have great screen captures of the wares.) Undies that have messages on the butt or front that say, “I dare you,” “Let’s Make Out,” and “Call me!” seem a little juvenile, no? Of course, making young girls think that they should be wearing underwear that people should be reading is not juvenile. It’s actually just dangerous and irresponsible.
So yeah, I really dislike Victoria’s Secret. A lot. But the company is going to keep selling its products using fake-looking, freaks of nature and women are going to keep buying into their messaging that in order to be sexy you need to wear silk undies and diamond-crusted bras. Whatever.