The news today is that lingerie retailer “Victoria’s Secret” is pulling back from their “sexy” image after consumers complain and business declines. We saw it coming in the much subdued spot on the Super Bowl, and it now appears the company feels its crossed the line between “sexy” and “sleazy.” Three interesting issues here:
1) Even though their overall sales are rising, they took their cues from sales results from stores that have been open at least a year. With those stores, they saw an 8% decline. That takes away artificially bumped sales from new stores, and gives them much better and more stable sales data. What should we learn? Look at long term trends – not just immediate results.
2) Is too much too much with any brand? Can a church be too religious? Can a non-profit push limits? Can any retailer go too far? I of course say “yes.” With any brand, you can be too much, say too much, and advertise too much. Some media ministries and secular non-profits in this country send direct mail to their donors as much as 5 times a month. Is it too much? Only results will decide, but I think we too often burn out our donors and customers.
3) Customer opinions matter. When people call or write and express their feelings about an issue like this, in most cases, companies will respond in some fashion. Don’t be a jerk, or on a moral high horse, just express a logical reason why it’s in their best interest to respond. A few years ago, a local sign company put up very inappropriate bus stop ads outside our local high school. When I called the sign company, they responded immediately and had them replaced within 2 hours.