During a world wide pandemic, many companies are pitching in to help in ways that have never before been seen.
Zoos, museums, and authors are sharing livestreams and virtual tours, designers are switching from high-end clothing to protective masks for medical personnel, and many online subscription sites are offering services free of charge. Retailer Victoria’s Secret took a different approach during this COVID-19 pandemic, choosing to showcase politically charged transgender model ads instead of contributing in any real way.
While other brands are focusing on keeping consumers healthy and serving them in new ways, Victoria’s Secret instead chose to launch a new transgender campaign.
The “Body By Victoria” campaign launched this week, featuring Brazilian transgender model Valentina Sampaio, along with a roundup of biological females. The new campaign was announced in W magazine and lauded for its diversity.
This latest campaign includes in-store advertising, print and magazine ads and other initiatives. This also rolls out a break from the traditional advertising used by the brand, which has been overtly feminine. The new look has been described as “progressive feminism,” and was launched in part because of the brand’s previous owner’s ties with Jeffrey Epstein. After being entangled in the Epstein pedophilia scandal, Victoria’s Secret owner Les Wexner separated from the brand.
Other factors contributed to the launch of the transgender campaign, which includes traditional and plus size models as well. Victoria’s Secret CMO Ed Razek stepped aside last year after being quoted in an interview, stating the brand would not be using trans models. This was enough to trigger outrage in the fashion and progressive communities. Razek was also accused of sexual harassment by a number of models including Bella Hadid.
Both of these public scandals led to an interest in rebranding for Victoria’s Secret, ultimately on display in this new campaign. In addition to new models, the brand’s latest styles roll back to another era, with more structured and neutral pieces instead of the feminine and fun pieces the brand has been known for in the past.
You’ll have to wait to get your hands on the new spring line, or see the transgender instore ads in person. Like other non-essential retailers, Victoria’s Secret stores across the nation have closed to help halt the spread of germs. Many non-essential sellers have closed their doors to help stop the spread of coronavirus, and other brands are expected to follow suit.
Like other retailers, Victoria’s Secret does not have a proposed date for reopening its stores, though the spring advertising campaign has continued as scheduled. It remains to be seen if buyers will respond to the new look and feel of this now progressive brand.