The Free Press, Mankato, MN

News Ticker

Community News Network

November 13, 2012

Runway show the key to Victoria's Secret success

NEW YORK — Victoria's Secret is thriving using a marketing strategy that seems more from the era of "Mad Men" than Twitter.

While other big brand retailers try to hone their social media skills, the intimate-apparel chain is creating excitement with a network TV holiday fashion show featuring young women strutting down a runway in Swarovski crystal-decorated lingerie and six-inch heels.

The show, in its second decade, is the cornerstone of an efficient marketing machine. Last year, the special received its highest rating since at least 2002, with 11.5 million viewers, mostly women. Sales have risen 7 percent in the past three quarters to $4.33 billion after posting a record $6.1 billion in revenue for the year through Jan. 28. It's the biggest of Columbus, Ohio-based Limited's brands, followed by Bath & Body Works.

The TV show is "essentially an hour-long commercial, and really, that is unheard of," Erika Maschmeyer, an analyst at Robert W. Baird & Co., said in an interview. "There are a lot of places to buy intimate apparel, but there's no other place that has such a strong brand connotation to it, and I think the fashion show is definitely a part of that."

The marketing approach is in sharp contrast to industry trends. Retailers, which may see online sales grow to 16 percent of $586 billion in revenue this holiday season, have increased digital efforts at the expense of more traditional advertising. Gap Inc., the biggest U.S. specialty apparel retailer, has added to social media and moved away from television and print ads. Department-store company J.C. Penney exited its catalog business last year.

Viewers can't buy much of what the models wear in the Victoria's Secret's show aside from bras and panties. Elaborate costumes range across themes such as "Circus," "Calendar Girls" and "Silver Screen Angels." Jeweled silk corsets, feather bustiers and wings of all types were styled around the underwear to create the lingerie-clad version of a tiger in one walk to a Native American chief in another.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Community News Network
  • Affirmative action ruling challenges colleges seeking diversity

    The U.S. Supreme Court's support of Michigan's ban on race-based affirmative action in university admissions may spur colleges to find new ways to achieve diversity without using racial preferences.

    April 23, 2014

  • A 'wearable robot' helps her walk again

    Science is about facts, numbers, laws and formulas. To be really good at it, you need to spend a lot of time in school. But science is also about something more: dreaming big and helping people.

    April 23, 2014

  • Cuba is running out of condoms

    The newest item on Cuba's list of dwindling commodities is condoms, which are now reportedly in short supply. In response, the Cuban government has approved the sale of expired condoms.

    April 23, 2014

  • The waffle taco's biggest enemy isn't McDonald's. It's consumer habits.

    Gesturing to Taco Bell, Thompson said McDonald's had "not seen an impact relative to the most recent competitor that entered the [breakfast] space," and that new competition would only make McDonald's pursue breakfast more aggressively.

    April 23, 2014

  • Screen Shot 2014-04-22 at 4.42.47 PM.png VIDEO: Leopard attacks crowd in India

    A leopard caused panic in the city of Chandrapur when it sprung from the roof of a house and charged at rescue workers.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • The top 12 government programs ever

    Which federal programs and policies succeed in being cost-effective and targeting those who need them most? These two tests are obvious: After all, why would we spend taxpayers' money on a program that isn't worth what it costs or helps those who do not need help?

    April 22, 2014

  • In cuffs... 'Warlock' in West Virginia accused of sexual assault

    Police in West Virginia say a man claiming to be a “warlock” used promises of magical spells to lure children into committing sexual acts with him.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Cats outsmart the researchers

    I knew a lot had been written about dogs, and I assumed there must be at least a handful of studies on cats. But after weeks of scouring the scientific world for someone - anyone - who studied how cats think, all I was left with was this statement, laughed over the phone to me by one of the world's top animal cognition experts, a Hungarian scientist named Ádám Miklósi.

    April 22, 2014

  • McCain 1 House Republicans are more active on Twitter than Democrats

    Your representative in the House is almost certainly on Twitter. Your senator definitely is. But how are they using the social network? Are Democrats more active than Republicans, or vice versa? Who has the most followers on the Hill?

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Do your genes make you procrastinate?

    Procrastinators, in my experience, like nothing better than explaining away their procrastination: General busyness, fear of failure, and simple laziness are just a handful of the excuses and theories often tossed around. Now researchers from the University of Colorado Boulder have added another option to the list: genetics.

    April 21, 2014

Free Press news updates
Seasonal Content
Featured Ads
AP Video
Poll