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Posts Tagged ‘Victoria’s Secret’

Aerie Commits to Photoshop-Free Lingerie Ads, Draws Mixed Reactions

aerie-0Every time I scroll through the Victoria’s Secret website on the hunt for a new bra or a pair of yoga pants, I feel a wider range of mixed emotions than should ever accompany the purchase of anything but a pregnancy test.

After somewhat unwillingly feasting my eyes on the ridiculously retouched images that were once, presumably, pictures of human beings, I feel disgusted by a culture that so drastically alters women’s bodies to sell fashion; I feel ashamed that I am supporting this concept by buying the damn yoga pants; and I feel a certain maniacal glee that results in out-loud laughter at how absurd some of the particularly horrendous botch jobs are–clearly-missing ribs, grotesquely-stretched legs and necks, and, sometimes, body parts that don’t even seem to connect to each other.

By the end of my transaction, however, I sigh with a sense of heavy acceptance that this is “just how it is,” and then feel a bit angry and guilty about that acceptance.

All just to buy some underwear.

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The ‘Sexiest Man Alive’ Wants You to Sign up for Obamacare

shutterstock_82796965Maroon 5 singer/Victoria’s Secret model fan Adam Levine‘s appointment as People‘s “Sexiest Man Alive” prompted every blogger everywhere to make a “things/people that are sexier than him” listicle (our favorite entry was “a nice plate of spaghetti“). But the federal government thinks it can make the most of his newfound notoriety by using him as a celebrity spokesperson for the Affordable Care Act.

Bloomberg reports that Levine, along with a few other people whose names and faces you know, will be promoting enrollment as part of a social media campaign set to launch today.

Can’t you see him pleading? Would those tattoos lie to you, baby?

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KFC Offers a Bucket Full of PR in New Kids Meals

It’s impossible to discuss public relations and the kiddie demographic without touching on the issue of parenting. Companies know that young children are an incredibly lucrative consumer group, and they’re willing to do just about anything to exploit that potential financial windfall.

However, as we pointed out in yesterday’s coverage of Victoria’s Secret’s marketing push to sell lingerie to tweens, parents own 100% of their own kids’ purchasing power. Savvy brands know that in order to reach children, they must go through the parents, not around them. Enter KFC’s new Lil’ Bucket Kids Meals.

The packaging tells the entire story. The Lil’ Bucket Kids Meals are vibrantly colored and playful, even offering QR codes and games that encourage youngsters to interact with the products. Kids’ Meals are nothing new; fast food brands have long relied on toy messaging to get their stuff into youngsters’ stomachs. Hey, most of us grew up eating them and we turned out just fine (ahem).

But times are changing.

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Victoria’s Secret Gets an Earful from Irate Parents

The public doesn’t appreciate brands that cross invisible but well-established lines in our culture, particularly in the name of greed. For example, don’t break out your storefront Christmas decorations before Thanksgiving Day. Oh, and don’t sell lingerie to girls who are still convinced they’re going to marry Justin Bieber under a rainbow.

By selling lingerie to the “tween” demographic, Victoria’s Secret has broken all sorts of unspoken public relations rules, most importantly “don’t piss off parents”. (We had a feeling this wasn’t going to go over well.) Brands attempting to court the tween demographic should remember one fact: these girls are too young to legally hold jobs, so their primary source of income (and purchasing decisions) is their parents.

Apparently Victoria’s Secret forgot this, didn’t think parents were paying attention, or honestly didn’t believe there was anything inappropriate about a tween girl and her divorced father’s new girlfriend going shopping together for something hot and spicy at the local VS.

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Victoria’s Secret and Others Marketing Lingerie to Tweens

Today in We’re Not Sure How We Feel About This news: Top underwear brand Victoria’s Secret, in an apparent attempt to expand upon the runaway success of its “collegiate” brand Pink, wants to tailor more of its marketing efforts to the middle-school-aged “tween” crowd.

According to Bloomberg Businessweek, which ran the story under the provocative headline “Forget training bras. Girls are buying lingerie”, the demand for “intimate apparel” among young girls continues to grow because, in the words of Victoria’s parent brand Limited’s CFO, these tweens all “want to be older…they want to be cool like the girl in college”. Relevant retailers are scrambling to make the most of it: For example, a quick visit to tween retail giant Justice‘s website reveals collections of bras and panties by a brand that defines its own target audience as girls aged 7 to 12.

Pink hasn’t unveiled any products specifically designed for 12-year-olds, but its decision to hire Justin Bieber for the Pink segment of last year’s Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show is sufficient evidence of the brand’s desire to reach younger audiences with its combination of brightly colored sweatpants and underwear. While the company names its target consumer as a 15 or 16-year-old girl, some younger women will clearly be drawn in by the campaigns.

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PR Win: Hot Wheels Hits Jackpot with Tweet-Powered Vending Machine

hot-wheels-camaromatic-vending-machineWe know that social media can power all sorts of things from brand recognition to customer interaction, and that making it worthwhile for customers to use your hashtags by offering prizes or incentives can sometimes prove a useful strategy — but what about using tweets as actual (not just digital) currency to literally power a customer vending machine?

That’s exactly what Hot Wheels and Chevrolet Canada teamed up with Canadian agency TrojanOne to create: a vending machine that accepts tweets rather than coins and dispenses limited-edition diecast toy car collectables rather than chips and soda. The companies built the customized vending machine (which was just a regular coil vending machine updated with special web-enabled computer components) in honor of the Toronto Auto Show. All toy car enthusiasts had to do was stand near the machine, enable location features on their smartphones and tweet at @HotWheelsCanada using the hashtag #ChevyCIAS. Ta da! A free toy car.

The machine dispensed about 2,000 of them over the 10 days of the auto show. Impressive, no?

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Anti-Rape Activist Campaign Hijacks Victoria’s Secret

Victoria’s Secret is an extremely popular brand, but it’s better known for its shameless Photoshopping than its promotion of healthy body images.

This is why journalists reacted with skepticism to this week’s “announcement” that VS would be re-tooling its message “to lead the country in the next sexual revolution” by way of a new line called “PINK loves CONSENT” focusing on the importance of consent in all sexual relationships.

This campaign was a hoax, but it certainly wasn’t a joke: It included an impressive fake website populated by models who you’d never see in a VS catalog and a press “representative” who insisted, after several phone calls, that she really is a Victoria’s Secret employee. We don’t know that we’ve ever seen such commitment to a PR stunt.

Turns out that the whole event was organized by anti-rape activists at a group calling itself “FORCE: Upsetting the Culture of Rape”. Their goal was to “promote a national conversation about consent” by hijacking Victoria’s Secret’s social media forums and encouraging fans to congratulate the company’s media team on its great new messaging efforts. Based on the group’s re-working of the famous VS Pink line, we’d guess that they don’t have a particularly positive view of the brand and its influence on our culture at large:

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Meet SPANX, the Store

SPANX storeHold your breath for some uplifting news: SPANX is coming to a mall near you.

Red-blooded Middle Americans like Gwyneth Paltrow have already let the world know how much they love the simple hosiery brand. Katy Perry worries about “look[ing] fat” without her SPANX tights, while Miley Cyrus refers to hers as “a gift from God” and Tina Fey sees them as “my dream come true” (we’ll take her word for it). Now the company and its media team prepare for the big time after blowing up thanks to the brilliance of its founder and its masterful promotion of a very basic concept: practical comfort tinged with feel-good new age vibes.

OK, we all love SPANX. But do we love SPANX enough to turn a pantyhose maker into a retail giant? The company’s first boutique opened in a Washington, DC suburb last month, and sister branches will soon grace the nation’s largest malls in King of Prussia, PA and Paramus, NJ. So will the little underwear startup grow big enough to take on Victoria’s Secret (aka the Fox News internship program)?

The brand’s selling point is very different than Victoria’s patented “make me sexy” bit: In keeping with the theme of self-acceptance and comfort, the company intends to greet shoppers at each store with “cheer squads” that will pave the way for “sales clerks with ‘super-shaping powers’” descending “to recommend products such as the $98 smoothing bodysuit to nip in the hips and enhance the thighs without plastic surgery”. Founder and Richard Branson student Sara Blakely described her vision of the stores as “a place where everybody knows your name — and your bra size!”

Sounds very specific!

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