Recently, the US giant of lingerie retailing Victoria’s Secret landed in the UK to a rather interesting reception. While my bosom-owning American friends have been singing their praises and expressing delight at having their favourite brand of bras finally available to buy in London, the launch of the Westfield and Bond Street stores was very low key and all I have seen on the internet lately has been discussion involving the advertising images used by the company. First there was a criticism of their “Love My Body” campaign, by way of a comparison to Dove’s “Campaign for Real Beauty” via an image that was circulated on various social media sites (see photo below – original source unknown) and the comments this drew. Then there is their choice of a model so unusually shaped that fans on their Facebook page were convinced she was the result of a heavy handed image retoucher.
There is much that could be said about the Victoria’s Secret contribution to an impossible ideal and the poor body image of young women, but there is only one thing that I’m curious about right now. Will British women put up with this sort of advertising? I suspect that different tactics will be required in order to appeal to UK lingerie consumers – different choices of models for our market may be a start – as VS just seem to be a bit too American. Us Brits seem to have a preference for brands like Freya, Panache, M&S and Curvy Kate which don’t use the “California girl” image to promote their lingerie. Even high street chain Boux Avenue have cottoned on to the fact that curvy girls need to see bras on someone a bit more like them – the face of their brand is size 16 (UK) Robyn Lawley [Warning: Daily Mail link]. Will Victoria’s secret be known in the UK as a brand for fans of dieting, spray tans and The Only Way Is Essex, or will it gain a broader appeal? I shall be watching them with great interest to find out.