It’s not that complicated. But brands don’t get that women want to see themselves reflected—their bodies, their ages, their ethnicities, their preferences—in branded messaging. Recently, a Victoria Secret executive dismissed the thought of casting plus size and transgender models in Victoria’s Secret shows.
“Why don’t you do 50?” L Brands CEO Ed Razek retorted, referring to garment sizing. “Why don’t you do 60? Why don’t you do 24? It’s like, why doesn’t your show do this? Shouldn’t you have transsexuals in the show? No. No, I don’t think we should. Well, why not? Because the show is a fantasy. It’s a 42-minute entertainment special. That’s what it is.”
It’s Ed Razek’s fantasy, and indeed fatal flaw, that women want to watch an “entertainment special” featuring pantily-clad women at all. Per the NY Times, the company’s stock is down 41 percent this year and in response to questions asked in recent consumer study, 60 percent said they think the brand feels “forced” or “fake.”
I’m recalling a 2013 flameout when an executive at Lulu Lemon told the press that plus sizing was not part of its “formula.” Posted on its Facebook page: “Our product and design strategy is built around creating products for our target guest in our size range of 2-12. While we know that doesn’t work for everyone and recognize fitness and health come in all shapes and sizes, we’ve built our business, brand and relationship with our guests on this formula.”
Meanwhile, ThirdLove, started by women offers 74 sizes and “nude” tones across the spectrum of human skin colors. That’s what women want.