Victoria’s Secret Essay Sample


            Victoria’s Secret is one of the largest lingerie retailers in the United States. Victoria’s Secret’s main products are lingerie, panties, bras, footwear, swimwear, make up, and accessories. Since its inception on June 12, 1977, the company has grown to include 18 independently run stores and 1,017 company-run stores. The firm has over time spread its wings to become a multinational with tentacles in Eastern and Western Europe, South America, the Middle East and Africa. The main theme of Victoria’s Secret’s sales and products is sexiness. Being sexually attractive is the thematic hinge upon which the firm’s product design and promotion and marketing communication turn. However, in spite of the multinational’s large size, Victoria’s Secret’s fortunes have grown and shriveled, depending on its management and sales strategies. Victoria’s Secret uses online social media and other sales and promotions strategies such as runway shows and mass-market commercial shows. Therefore, this discourse serves to show that through careful advertising and promotion strategies, Victoria’s Secret or any other firm can make successful local and global ties with actual and potential consumers and accrue more profit.

Critical Analysis of Victoria’s Secret’s Techniques

Victoria’s Secret’s techniques are all-round, comprehensive, and effective. One of the ways Victoria’s Secrets has been able to effectively use its marketing techniques is the creation of a positive cultural identity of a product, so that the goods are advertising symbols in themselves. The import of this is that both consumers and potential clients associate the goods as symbols of social status and self-identity. Victoria’s Secret’s Fashion Show and lingerie and fantasy bra advertisements appropriate qualities such as prestige, class, and durability. For instance, Victoria’s Secret gives its lingerie, bags, and clothes aesthetic appeal and attractive color. The leather bags for ladies are made of pure leather and are physically attractive to sight and touch. All these qualities give Victoria’s Secret’s products status symbol.

Victoria’s Secrets also uses its brand symbol as a powerful advertising tool for reaching both the potential and actual clients. Since Victoria’s Secret’s products have consistently been identified with aesthetic appeal, attractive color and design, and durability, the company’s logo has been a promotional sign by itself. According to Phau, Min, Hume, and Mills (2013), the moment people see Victoria’s Secret logo, they readily associate it with class and sexually appealing wares. The black and pink Victoria’s Secret logo makes people think of the firm’s items, instead of other products from other brands. Thus, the moment these people think of acquiring sexy lingerie, bra or clothes, they are likely to think of Victoria’s Secret first, before they give attention to other products.

Problematic Elements in the Discussion

            There are several elements that are problematic in the discussion. One of the problematic elements is the failure to grasp the multidimensional aspects of a consumer society that makes that society complex, ambiguous, and relatable to aspects of a highly capitalist consumer society. According to Ran (2016), the distinctions that demarcate social classes such as the elite, popular culture, and the dominant middle class sometimes get blurred. This means that there is no way Victoria’s Secret can identify features that make a particular class with pinpoint accuracy, in the quest to target a specific portion of the US or global market. In spite of this difficulty, the consideration of the boundaries and distinctions may be of debatable importance. Couples interested in spicing up their sex life are likely to consider Victoria’s Secret’s lingerie, regardless of their social classes. Part of the reason behind this observation is that Victoria’s Secret garments and products are nearly basic commodities. This means that there are no significant price differentials between Victoria’s Secret and its competitors’ prices. Even if the price differential may exist, consumers are likely to consider other factors such as brand, comfort, texture, and design.

The Tension Present

            Given that Victoria’s Secret mainly deals with women’s lingerie, brazier, clothes, underpants, and other accessories such as handbags, the firm capitalizes on the male gaze. Cervellon (2012) observes that the use of the male gaze is more profound in Victoria’s Secret’s advertisements and sales and promotion strategies. In this case, the sexiness and aesthetic appeal of the lingerie, bras, and panties mainly appeal to the male gaze and passion. The tension, in this case, is that ladies are the primary customers for Victoria’s Secret products yet the products target the male gaze. The import of this marketing strategy is that it intimates that the ability to arouse the male desire is one of the principal determinants of ladies’ purchasing behavior. While there is nothing amiss with lingerie that men find attractive, the failure to strike the delicate balance between the male gaze and women’s independence panders towards male chauvenism. The failure to balance between these two practices may offend independently minded women.

The Implications of the Brand on Women

            The subtle implication that the brand’s marketing and sales strategies have on women is ambivalent. On the one hand, Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show and advertisements take a neoliberal view of the female body. Neoliberalism views the body as belonging to the individual. Thus, the female body is not subject to social judgment, regardless of the kind of lingerie, bra or underpants it adorns itself with. Again, Victoria’s Secret considers individualism, in its entrenchment of indulgence (Ran, 2016). The brand’s fashion statements and advertisements mainly portray women as free spirits. Again, the aspect of indulgence is in the pants, bras, and lingerie coming in more than 100 styles and the firm giving customers a free brassiere for every two items they buy.    

            The use of neoliberalism is seen in Victoria’s Secret’s depiction of a specific frame as befitting the wearer of its products. The pieces of advertisement restrict their presentation to youthful women with lean frames. However, this is an artifice to accentuate the femininity and sexiness of the bras and lingerie wearers and to spike the volume of sales since people generally put premium on leanness and sexual attractiveness (McAllister and DeCarvalho, 2014). Nevertheless, the negative implication behind this form of brand presentation is the subjection of women to the male gaze. Too much consideration of the male gaze in the advertisement somewhat insinuates that ladies dress for men’s approval or to garner the male gaze.

How Victoria’s Secret Invites Viewers to Participate in Branded Commodity Activism

            Victoria’s Secret uses a number of ways to invite viewers to take part in brand commodity activism. One of the ways of Victoria’s Secret does this is by using multiple platforms. Victoria’s Secret has used several online social media platforms such as YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to enable as many people as possible to participate in brand promotion (Chrisler, et al., 2013). The company has largely also used its website to help potential and actual clients interact with its products.

The website is full-fledged, having features such as high-quality pictorial presentation of the brand’s product with their prices and offers, shopping gift cards, emailing system, customer service, live chat, order status, account signups and logins, pay bill system, and different product icons such as gifts, sports, and beauty products. This is a good marketing strategy since companies that seek to optimize participation should have an infrastructure that is developed enough to facilitate transactions even in the absence of manual manpower’s participation. A person who is interested in buying a product can easily do so and carry out financial transactions online, and wait for the firm to make actual delivery within a specified period of time. It is also through the same interactive tools of online social media that Vitoria’s Secret finds as a platform for individual civic participation located in the market.

About Victoria’s Secret Stores Closing Down in North America

            In spite of the vastness of Vitoria’s Secret’s resources and the company’s strategies, the company has indications of struggles. In 2019 alone, reliable reports showed that the company is closing about 53 stores in North America. This development follows the unfortunate incident in which Victoria’s Secret had to close about 30 stores in 2018. Part of the reasons for the multiple closures is the failure of the firm to adapt to change and fit into the social mainstream. Particularly, some observers such as Kim, Moon, and Iacobucci (2019) remark that some of the images in Victoria’s Secret’s stores have been inappropriate while many other photos have never been airbrushed since 2014.

In a closely related wavelength, the state of affairs in Victoria’s Secret stores is unlike that of the company’s top competitors such as the American Eagles Aerie and ThirdLove stores which use campaigns that are more body-positive. Therefore, while Eagle Aerie’s sales have been increasing over the few years, Victoria’s Secret’s have been ebbing away. The same reason also informs the advent and increasing success of new brands such as Rihanna and Lively, in the quest to fill in the void Victoria’s Secret’s inability to consistently use body-positivity has created.

            Victoria’s Secret’s sales and promotion campaigns have also not been without tactical hitches. The company has made a few mistakes in its product promotions from time to time. In one instance where Victoria’s Secret aired publicly, the company’s chief marketing officer, Ed Razek made snide remarks about transsexual and plus-size models being featured or not being featured in the show. The remarks sparked public outrage and caused the firm’s ratings and viewership to plummet. The gravity of this development seems to be indicative of Victoria’s Secret’s lack of public relations policy, strategy, and inability to go on a charming offensive.

            Other strategies that relate to Victoria’s Secret’s sales and marketing are responsible for the firm’s dwindling fortunes. Victoria’s Secret has not been able to roll out different sizes and shapes. This inability means that Victoria’s Secret’s lingerie, pants, and bras have not been exactly inclusive. Others contend that the quality of the company’s products has diminished and that the cutback in the volume of sales is a culmination of more fundamental issues than Ed Razek’s indiscretion or slip of the tongue.


            The foregoing discussion shows that sales, product design, and promotion are a multi-dimensional process, rather than a monolithic effort. An organization such as Victoria’s Secret has accrued a lot of gains because of its multifaceted approach to marketing which includes online social media, a full-fledged company website, and several forms of promotional shows. However, Victoria’s Secret like any other organization, needs to factor in several strategies such as product design, product size and packaging. The use of decorum and the ability to go on a charm offensive are also indispensable. These factors are the reasons behind Victoria’s Secret’s state of affairs. While the firm has perfected the art of sales and advertising through social media, company website, TV advertising, and runway shows, it needs to work on gaps such as unwitting discrimination of different types of people, maintaining and improving on quality, and factoring in different sizes during product design.


Cervellon, M. C. (2012). Victoria’s Dirty Secrets. Journal of Advertising, 41(4), 133-145.

            DOI: 10.1080/00913367.2012.10672462.

Chrisler, J. C., et al., (2013). Suffering by comparison: Twitter users’ reactions to the Victoria’s   Secret Fashion Show. Body Image, 10(4): 648-652.

Kim, M., Moon, S. & Iacobucci, D. (2019). The influence of global brand distribution on brand    popularity on social media. Journal of International Marketing, 27(4), 22-38.

            DOI: 10.1177/1069031X19863307.

McAllister, M.P. & DeCarvalho, L. J. (2014). Sexualized branded entertainment and the male       consumer gaze. TripleC (Cognition, Communication, Co-Operation): Open Access        Journal for a Global Sustainable Information Society, 12(1), 299-314.

            DOI: 10.31269/vol12iss1pp299-314.

Phau T., Min, T. I., Hume, M. & Mills, M. (2013). Uncovering Victoria’s Secret: Exploring         women’s luxury perceptions of intimate apparel and purchasing behavior. Journal of          Fashion Marketing and Management, 17(4), 460-485. DOI: 10.1108/jfmm-03-2013-0020

Ran, L. (2016). Should advertising be standardized based on specific cultural dimensions? – A      comparative study of ad preference and cultural dimensions in the US and China. Journal       of Eastern European and Central Asian Research, 3(1), 4-16.

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