Victoria’s Secret and Frederick’s of Hollywood are well-known retailers of lingerie and other products for women, including perfumes. However, in spite of similarities in proposed products, there are also significant differences between these retailers in terms of their messages and marketing strategies. Today, Frederick’s of Hollywood is focused only on e-commerce (Huddleston). Still, it is important to compare stores and websites of Victoria’s Secret and Frederick’s of Hollywood in order to conclude about these retailers’ messages to the audience with reference the question of sexuality.
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Although both retailers are focused on selling unique lingerie, the companies’ marketing approaches are opposite. Victoria’s Secret stores are decorated in black and pink colors, and their interiors are associated with the ideas of luxury and images of a boudoir or a secret club for women. Posters, light, contrasting colors, and lacquered surfaces contribute to creating the message about the exclusivity of proposed products and services. On the contrary, the presentation of lingerie in those Frederick’s of Hollywood stores which were popular before their closing in 2015 differed significantly from Victoria’s Secret’s approach (Gustafson). Frederick’s of Hollywood stores looked like many other lingerie stores, but red was used as the main color in the decoration. When entering the store, a woman could see many items, including bras, corsets, panties, or underwear, and red accents were easily observed. The most provocative items were separated to attract female consumers.
As a result, Victoria’s Secret and Frederick’s of Hollywood stores are not viewed or perceived the same way because of messages they convey about their products and women’s sexuality. Lingerie proposed by Victoria’s Secret is associated with the message of luxury, uniqueness, and sensitivity (Hughes). It is possible to state that the company promotes the idea of “empowering” females while demonstrating how attractive they can be (“Victoria’s Dirty Little Secret”). Therefore, the message about their sexuality as power is masked under the message about women’s beauty, dignity, and confidence.
In contrast, those products which are sold by Frederick’s of Hollywood seem to be different because of their direct message about sexuality. Those women who buy Victoria’s Secret items can discuss some products or female models’ poses as rather seductive, but they are not perceived negatively because of hidden messages about a powerful role of a woman and her attractiveness (Bennett; Greenberg et al. 722). The problem of females’ objectification is not obviously accentuated in this case. On the contrary, Frederick’s of Hollywood lingerie is more provocative, and it is marketed as “racy”. As a result, its message about the emphasized sexuality is rather direct, and it can be perceived by many women negatively.
Differences in decorating stores and using colors can have a certain effect on buyers, and this effect can be as intense as an impact of the market strategy and the nature of products. It is possible to state that the Victoria’s Secret brand has more admirers among women because its message about their sexuality is based on the idea of women’s power and dignity in spite of the fact that their bodies are proclaimed as almost a single source of their impact on other people. However, this message is usually discussed by women as more attractive than the message promoted by Frederick’s of Hollywood because this seductive lingerie can be directly associated with the ideas of objectification and suppression.
Bennett, Catherine. “Victoria’s Secret Shows Are Modern Sexism Uncovered.” The Guardian, 2015. Web.
Greenberg, Jerrold, et al. Exploring the Dimensions of Human Sexuality. 6th ed., Jones & Bartlett Publishers, 2017.
Gustafson, Krystina. “Will This Lingerie Shop Join the Retail Graveyard?” CNBC.com, 2015, Web.
Huddleston, Tom. “Lingerie Retailer Frederick’s of Hollywood Closes All of Its Stores.” Fortune, 2015, Web.
Hughes, Thomas R. “What is Victoria’s Secret Really Selling?” USA Today, 2013, Web.
“Victoria’s Dirty Little Secret.” Beauty Redefined, 2013, Web.