Case Study: Victoria’s Secret
A Case of One Blogger Taking on a Giant Brand
Victoria’s Secret recently pulled their “Sexy Little Geisha” outfit from stores after it offended buyers from all over the world. Fortunately for Victoria Secret, they were listening in the proper social media channels and knew that immediate action needed to be taken. They are also no stranger to controversy. There have been countless accusations of Photoshopping most models, as well as what some would call obvious slander of Kate Upton.
“There’s a long standing trend to represent Asian women as hypersexualized objects of fantasy, so it’s telling that none of the models wearing the ‘Go East’ collection appear to be Asian,” Nina Jacinto wrote in her blog post on Racialicious.com on September 6th, 2012, “Victoria’s Secret Does it Again: When Racism Meets Fashion.” She also commented that the undergarment reinforced “a narrative that says the culture can be completely stripped of its realness in order to fulfill our fantasies of a safe and non-threatening, mysterious East.”
The result: More than 47 comments and 147 reactions on her blog post alone. Thousands of local news sites and even big national online sites like the Huffington Post and Yahoo! News picked up the story. Millions of tweets are still being generated by this marketing campaign. It gained immediate traction in the social media world. The accusations of racism were enough for Victoria’s Secret to pull the outfit from its online stores.
While the product has now disappeared from the Victoria’s Secret website, screen grabs of it have gone viral. Links for both the “Sexy Little Geisha” URL and for the entire “Go East” collection now lead straight to the company’s home page.
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