In a surprising turn of events, Victoria’s Secret, the iconic lingerie retailer, is reverting back to its original marketing strategy after a failed attempt at inclusivity and diversity. The company had announced in 2021 that it was adopting a more ‘woke’ approach to branding and advertising, with soccer player Megan Rapinoe as its brand ambassador. However, this decision has proven to be detrimental to the brand’s sales.
According to The Washington Examiner, Victoria’s Secret plans to withdraw its inclusive marketing campaign and return to its traditional reputation. The brand, known for featuring beautiful models, had tried to diversify its models over the past few years by including plus-size and transgender representatives. Unfortunately, this attempt at rebranding did not lead to increased sales. In fact, the company’s projected revenue for this year is $6.2 billion, almost 20% lower than the $7.5 billion it earned in 2020.
Victoria’s Secret CEO Martin Waters acknowledged that despite their efforts, the inclusive marketing approach did not yield the desired results. The company’s decision to hire Megan Rapinoe and Valentina Sampaio, the first transgender model, as part of their rebranding efforts also caused controversy, with the former chief marketing officer resigning in the wake of Sampaio’s hiring.
It’s not entirely surprising that Victoria’s Secret’s attempt at inclusivity backfired. Many argued that the brand’s core appeal lies in its emphasis on beauty and sexiness, and trying to prioritize other factors such as diversity and inclusivity may have alienated their target audience.
Social media users were quick to react to the news, with some mocking the brand’s realization that prioritizing attractive women might actually increase sales. The New York Post also highlighted Victoria’s Secret’s decision to ditch wokeness in favor of ‘sexiness’ after a drop in sales. This controversy has sparked discussions about whether the brand can turn things around or if it’s already too late.
It remains to be seen how Victoria’s Secret will navigate this setback and regain its dominance in the lingerie market. While the company’s attempt at inclusivity was commendable, it’s clear that their core audience values the brand’s traditional approach. Going back to basics may be the right strategy for Victoria’s Secret, but time will tell if they can rebuild their customer base and recapture their former glory.