Instagrammers loved one Victoria's Secret post that broke the mold - and it could reveal a comeback strategy for the struggling brand
- Victoria's Secret posted a photograph of model Barbara Palvin to its Instagram page.
- Instagrammers celebrated the post for being more body-inclusive, as they perceived Palvin - who appeared in the brand's recent runway show - to be curvier than some of its other models.
A group of Bernstein analysts was quick to point out how successful the post has been.
On Monday, Victoria's Secret posted a photograph of model Barbara Palvin to its Instagram page. While Palvin is not a plus-size model - she also appeared in the brand's recent runway show - Instagrammers celebrated the post for being more body-inclusive, as they perceived her to be curvier than some of its other models.
"This model actually looks healthy..& I'm loving it!" one Instagram user wrote. "At last! A real human body," another said.
A group of Bernstein analysts, led by Jamie Merriman, was quick to point out how successful the post has been.
Within two days, the post had over 780,000 likes; more than 710,000 of those were added within the first day. It ranked No. 1 of all of Victoria's Secret's 103 posts from the last month, generating 4.2 times the average number of likes, and it earned the second-highest number of comments of all posts in the last month, the analysts wrote in a note on Monday.
"While this was just one Instagram post, not even Palvin's first for the brand, and not one that actually featured a plus-sized model, it demonstrates that the customer does respond to Victoria's Secret in a positive way, and with well above average levels of engagement, when the brand is perceived to be more inclusive," they said.
Victoria's Secret has come under scrutiny in recent months and increasingly been accused of losing relevance among shoppers as its hypersexualized ads and racy runway shows have failed to resonate in the era of #MeToo.
This came to a head in November after a Vogue interview with Ed Razek, the chief marketing officer of L Brands, went viral online. Razek told the interviewer that he didn't think the company's annual fashion show should feature "transsexuals" because the show was a "fantasy."
"It's a 42-minute entertainment special," he said. "That's what it is."
His comments sparked an outcry online that prompted him to issue a formal apology.
Last month, Victoria's Secret parent company L Brands reported fourth-quarter earnings. Same-store sales at Victoria's Secret were down 3% during the quarter and 3% overall in 2018. L Brands also announced that it would be closing as many as 53 of its stores this year, citing a "decline in performance" as the reasoning.
At the same time as Victoria's Secret sales are declining, brands better known for advocating body positivity, such as American Eagle's Aerie and ThirdLove (which is becoming increasingly critical of Victoria's Secret), have gained market share.
Despite this, Victoria's Secret still remains the No.1 lingerie retailer in US and has the power - via its large store base and massive social media following - to win back these shoppers.
"If only they will take it," the analysts wrote.