English 102, 9:30-10:55am
July 12, 2018
Victoria’s Secret Perfect Body
Do you wear or know someone who wears Victoria’s Secret bras or clothing line? I do and love the brand. I wear it with confidence and knowing I own a popular and highly perceived brand in today’s society makes me feel great. However, Victoria’s Secret vision, just like any successful brand, has its positives and negatives. In Victoria’s Secret advertisement above, the author’s role is to persuade the audience by selling sex appeal to consumers. The layout of 2014’s Victoria’s Secret PINK “The Perfect Body” campaign advertisement shows eight thin and gorgeous models lined up along a wall. They are tall and long-haired beauties with flat abs around five feet and eight inches tall and weigh around 97 to 105 pounds. The advertisement portrays a variety of ethnic backgrounds, including American, African American, and European with a variety of skin tones. Each unique model displays different lingerie outfits, matching bras, and panties of various colors and designs. At the center of the advertisement, three phrases stand out in capturing the consumer’s attention. The top line is in big and bold letters which reads “The Perfect Body.” The middle phrase states “Perfect fit. Perfect comfort. Perfectly soft.” Lastly, the bottom line contains the phrase “Explore the Collection.” In today’s society, young and thin women are utilized as a powerful tool for selling and marketing business sales. Furthermore, catchy phrases, such as “The Perfect Body,” contribute to fulfilling its advertisement’s psychological strategy. The three phrases, however, turned out to be a double-edged sword and ultimately stirred outrage amongst a majority of both consumers and non-consumers. Contrary to this advertisement’s visual representation, Victoria’s Secret consumer majority consists of young and middle-aged women made of different body shapes and forms ranging from short to tall and thin to curvy. Nonetheless, social media and private sectors, such as Victoria’s Secret, have constructed sexually driven advertisements that have become the most influential tools in convincing today’s consumers as to what the norm of the female’s appearance should be for financial gain.
Victoria’s Secret is highly popular among modern society’s young women because of its sex appeal due to providing intriguingly sleek and sexy bras, its underwear reputation, and for PINK, their undeniably famous clothing line. Victoria’s Secret is a multi-billion dollar industry which originated from an American designer and has been around for over 41 years. Victoria’s Secret was founded in the year 1977 at Palo Alto, California, and is now the largest American retailer of women’s lingerie (Victoria’s Secret 1). The brand sells underwear, women’s clothing, lingerie, swimwear, footwear, fragrances, beauty products and makeup. The PINK collection includes a wide selection of comfortable clothing such as sweatpants, sweatshirts, casual t-shirts, underwear, and swimwear. Victoria’s Secret target audience is its main influential contributing factor in determining which products to focus on, styles to create, and marketing strategies to deliver.
Victoria’s Secret marketing audiences consist of young and middle-aged women including significant others looking to please their ladies. The PINK collection focuses on attracting young women ranging from ages 15 to 22 years old, primarily high school and college students (PINK 1). As for Victoria’s Secret general line of clothing, it focuses on attracting middle-aged women through a series of collections. I feel that women tend to buy from Victoria’s Secret because they feel self-conscious, and want to feel and look sexy with hopes of being accepted by society’s perception of beauty. I believe that by wearing Victoria’s Secret bras and underwear, women gain more self-confidence in their own body which presumptively translates to happiness. Most of Victoria’s Secret advertisements successfully convey the message to their audience through sex appeal. The author uses Ethos and Pathos by utilizing a sex-driven appeal to the audience and also uses Ethos for their celebrity branding to attract consumers of all ages. Victoria’s Secret has had some highly influential and famous women that are recognized in today’s society, such as models Tyra Banks (1997-2005), Heidi Klum (1999-2010), and Kendall Jenner (2015), who have all runwayed in one or more of the famous Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show (List of Victoria’s Secret Models 1-5). It is safe to conclude that marketing celebrities are an optimal factor to influence young women into following their role model’s footsteps by purchasing Victoria’s Secret products. The brand’s marketing team, however, do not limit themselves to only women for increased profitability.
Another audience targeted by Victoria’s Secret are men. Roy Raymond’s, the founder, main purpose of creating this business was to simplify men’s shopping prowess for their ladies’ lingerie. This was all because he did not like the print and style of lingerie when he was a young consumer shopping for his wife’s lingerie. Raymond stated, “When I tried to buy lingerie for my wife, I was faced with racks of terry-cloth robes and ugly floral-print nylon nightgowns… I always had the feeling the department store saleswomen thought I was an [unwelcomed] intruder” (Wikipedia 1). Due to this complex feat, Raymond decided to create a simpler and more comfortable shopping environment for men along with having a beautiful selection of sexy lingerie for women. Nonetheless, very few men shop at Victoria’s Secret stores because it is still not a social norm for men to rummage through women’s lingerie. Women would have opinions of this unacceptable and perceived lewd act, such as “Why is a guy in a women lingerie store?” or “Is he a pervert?” Personally, I would feel uncomfortable shopping for lingerie next to a male in the store unless he is accompanied by another female companion. Unfortunately, this is the reality as it stands today with almost all women in modern society.
Moving onwards to persuasion through Pathos, the advertisement is both effective and ineffective in some ways. It is effective because sex appeal is a basic human instinct of lust and temptation, which is how it lures audiences. Sexual desire is what appeals to people, giving consumers the need to shop and look sexy similarly to their aspiring role models. In other words, both men and women will go out and purchase Victoria’s Secret products to satisfy their inner fantasies and desires. Some women feel confident and happy with their bodies while others feel quite the opposite. Unfortunately, women who are satisfied with themselves tend to be ignorant of such advertisements’ harmfulness and degrading stereotypes that put women without a slim physique to shame. As proud and independent women, we hold ourselves in high regards and are always competing amongst each other including ourselves.
On the contrary, the advertisement holds some ineffectiveness depending on the audience’s perspective. Some women find the phrase, “The Perfect Body,” is misleading to what an ideal female body should appear as. Women worldwide are outraged by Victoria’s Secret PINK advertisement because the three phrases are inadvertently hurtful and shameful, which then leads to personal dissatisfaction and low self-esteem. According to Kennelly and Vendee, “Body dissatisfaction has been connected to media consumption in that media are often identified as sources women turn to for information about their physical appearance, and thin models and actresses are ostensibly the standard in current media” (Media Effect on Body Image 51). The study has shown that body dissatisfaction plays a major role since dissatisfaction and depression may lead to negative and detrimental medical effects. According to Erin J Strahan el at., women can be at a high risk of developing an eating disorder to look like the model to have the perfect body that will fit in today’s society (289). In the United Kingdom’s Daily Mail newspaper, it stated that “only three percent of women in the UK are totally happy with their body and 73 percent think about their size or shape every single day” (1). Women are never content with their bodies, always wanting more attractiveness through an infinite looping adventure to look and feel better than everyone else. Some may even go as far as having plastic surgeries such as facelifts, nose jobs, breast augmentations, or even buttock augmentations to feel confident and remain content of their own bodies.
In terms of Logos, the 2014 campaign advertisement failed to receive majority public acceptance due to its misleading and stereotypical word usage. Most women perceive the message, “The Perfect Body,” as having to look like angelic models with a tall and thin physique with tight abs in order to be adored and accepted by peers. Women from all around the world were extremely offended and caused them to be more self-conscious of their suboptimal looks with lowered self-esteem. Women felt that Victoria’s Secret message was attempting to persuade consumers to starve themselves in order to achieve outer beauty. Consumer reactions, whether good or bad, has displayed how influentially evident body image in the media impacts modern society. Today’s consumers have developed a rapid satisfaction response when it comes to wanting the newest products and trends. If we hear it then we want to see it. If we see it then we have the need to touch it. If it smells good then we will want to savor a taste. Similarly, Victoria’s Secret clothing lines convince consumers to satisfy a craving to feel confident and sexy by wearing its products.
Victoria’s Secret and other similar brands are influencing young girls and middle-aged women to have a tall, young, thin, and pretty face. Adèle Lafrance el at. discusses that the ideal average woman should be five feet and eleven inches tall and weigh 117 pounds (Victoria Dirty Secret 289). In reality, however, average American women are five feet and four inches tall and weigh 140 pounds. Women need to understand that every individual is different and unique in their own ways. For example, woman A and woman B maybe the exact same height and weight but appear entirely different. Both women are healthy, but woman A has a larger belly while woman B has a bigger waist and buttocks.
Conclusively, all strategic angles of Victoria’s Secret advertisement deception are geared towards profitability and financial gain. Although consumers may be well aware of these deceptions, marketing strategists are masterful with what they do and remain successful even today. In the article Marketing Campaigns Use Sex Appeal to Sell Products, it stated that “sexualized advertising has become a fact of life for many consumers” (1). Therefore, sex appeal has become a part of modern society’s norm of sexually-driven advertisements everywhere and anywhere. Marketing teams will use any technique to sell to the consumer for financial gain to beat competitors. Ultimately, Victoria’s Secret has succeeded in setting a high standard for competitor brands by utilizing its masterful art in selling sexual imagery to gain profit, power, and prestige.
Adèle Lafrance, Anne E. Wilson, Erin J. Strahan, Nicole Ethier, Steven J. Spencer and Mark P. Zanna. “Victoria’s Dirty Secret: How Sociocultural Norms Influence Adolescent Girls and Women.” Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. 2008. Pp. 288-301
This article discusses how women’s body dissatisfactions are influenced by sociocultural norms for ideal appearance. Today, society valued women bodies and appearance for attractiveness are very high. The ideal average American woman should be five feet and eleven inches and weigh 117 pounds, but in reality, the average American woman is five feet and four inches and weigh140lb. This article goes into two studies and shows that physical appearance is valued by others, which leads to women to feel self-conscious. I will use some of the information in my paper because the article was published by the Personality and Social Psychology.
“Marketing Campaigns Use Sex Appeal to Sell Products.” Daniel’s Funds Ethics Initiative University of New Mexico.” Pp. 1-2 https://danielsethics.mgt.unm.edu/pdf/Marketing%20and%20Sex%20Appeal%20DI.pdf
This article discusses the marketing team using sex appeal to sell to the consumer. Sexual imagery that was considered pornographic is now the way to communicate with people through a magazine, billboards, websites, and other media. I will use the information to help support my argument.
“List of Victoria’s Secret models.” Wikipedia.
I was able to a list of all the current and former Victoria’s Secret Angels and the fashion models who have walked in the famous Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. Victoria’s Secret has had some highly influential and famous women that are recognized in today’s media, such as models Tyra Banks (1997-2005), Heidi Klum (1999-2010), and Kendall Jenner (2015), who have all runwayed in one or more of the famous Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. I will be using a former and current Victoria’s Secret Angel and a fashion model for an example of why marketing is using celebrity brand to sell to their consumer.
PINK (Victoria’s Secret). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pink_(Victoria%27s_Secret)
The PINK collection focuses on attracting young women ranging from ages 15 to 22 years old, primarily high school and college students. The PINK collection includes a wide selection of comfortable clothing such as sweatpants, sweatshirts, casual t-shirts, underwear, and swimwear.
Victoria’s Secret. Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victoria%27s_Secret
Through Wikipedia, I found the history of Victoria’s Secret. Roy Raymond is the founder of the multi-billion dollar industry, which is an American designer and has been around for over 41 years. Victoria’s Secret was founded in the year 1977 in Palo Alto, California, and is now the largest American retailer of women’s lingerie. Raymond’s main purpose for creating this business was to simply men’s shopping prowess for their ladies’ lingerie. This was all because he did not like the print and style of lingerie when he was a young consumer shopping for his wife’s lingerie. Raymond stated, “When I tried to buy lingerie for my wife, I was faced with racks of terry-cloth robes and ugly floral-print nylon nightgowns… I always had the feeling the department store saleswomen thought I was an [unwelcomed] intruder”. I will use this piece of information to share the history of Victoria’s Secret throughout the essay.
Most women “Unhappy with Their Bodies.” Daily Mail. Pp.1 http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-146021/Most-women-unhappy-bodies.htmlp
In the articles, there are multiple types of research of women not happy with their body. “Only 3% of women in the UK are totally happy with their body and 73% think about their size or shape every single day.” The article also shows studies that women are dissatisfied with their body and want to change it. I will be using this study to show in my essay of the argument of pathos. This is reliable because it was published in the UK Daily Mail Newspaper.
William Kinnally and Kristen E. Van Vendee “Media Effects on Body Image: Examining Media Exposure in the Broader Context of Internal and Other Social Factors.” American Communication Journal. 2012 Spring. Volume 14. Pp. 41-57. http://www.ac-journal.org/journal/pubs/2012/SPRING%202012/McKinnally3.pdf
This article talks about body dissatisfaction. “Body dissatisfaction has been connected to media consumption in that media are often identified as sources women turn to for information about their physical appearance, and thin models and actresses are ostensibly the standards in current media. Cultivation and social comparison theories have been used to examine the association between media.” I will use some information that I found on here are part of the argument in the essay.