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?