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The real reason Victoria's Secret canceled their televised fashion show
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2018
2019

Victoria's Secret just can't seem to catch a break. In May 2019, it was announced that Les Wexner, CEO of L Brands, had informed company associates in an internal memo that the world-famous Victoria's Secret Fashion Show would no longer air on network television. The news of the shake-up came on the heels of the company's February 2019 announcement that 53 Victoria's Secret stores would be closing throughout the year.


"The strength and positive perception of the Victoria's Secret brand is unparalleled, and our fashion show has revolutionized the mix of fashion and entertainment around the world," Wexner wrote in his memo, calling the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show "a key factor in the building of the brand." However, whether Wexner and Victoria's Secret executives are willing to acknowledge it or not, reports show that the brand's "positive perception" has seen a massive decline. Could the fashion show's removal from network television be a direct result of the brand's dwindling popularity? Here's a behind-the-scenes look at the real reason Victoria's Secret is canceling their televised fashion show.

When Les Wexner, the chief executive officer of Victoria's Secret's parent company, L Brands (which also owns Bath & Body Works), announced in an internal memo that the brand would be taking its trademark fashion show off broadcast television, he offered little explanation as to exactly why the decision had been made. However, while Wexner may have chosen to remain vague about the specifics behind the shake up, his message to the chain's associates seemed to hint that it was far from a last-minute decision.

Though Les Wexner opted to explain the fashion show's removal from broadcast television by revealing that Victoria's Secret had been in the process of refocusing and taking "a fresh look at every aspect" of the company for several months, the program's ratings tell a different story. Numbers from the brand's televised December 2018 fashion show proved that the yearly event, which was once highly anticipated, had simply lost its glittery, confetti-filled appeal in the eyes of viewers.


According to Entertainment Weekly, Victoria's Secret Fashion Show saw its lowest ratings ever with its 2018 special. The publication added that two notable programming changes had been implemented since the special's 2017 airing on CBS — the fashion show had switched to a new network (ABC), and had adopted a new time slot, going from Tuesday night to Sunday night. Despite these changes, the sultry show saw a major drop in viewership, dipping to 3.3 million viewers from the previous year's approximately 5 million viewers.


As The List covered in the months leading to Victoria's Secret pulling its annual fashion show from broadcast television, Ed Razek, L Brand's chief marketing officer, came under fire in November 2018 for controversial comments he delivered during an interview with Vogue. In the interview — which Razek participated in alongside Victoria's Secret's vice president of public relations, Monica Mitro — the publication noted that newer lingerie brands had been promoting diversity through marketing, including featuring transgender women in their advertisements. When asked if Victoria's Secret felt the need to "address the way the market is shifting in any way," Razek provided a defensive response which many felt was transphobic.


"We market to who we sell to, and we don't market to the whole world," Razek declared. "I'm always asking myself: If we do that, what is the reason we did it? ... Did we include them because it was the right thing to do or because it was the politically correct thing to do? "


The store isn't as popular as it once was

What women want

Will the show find new life online?

According to The New York Times, a 2017 Wells Fargo consumer study regarding Victoria's Secret revealed that 68 percent of respondents liked the brand less than before, while 60 percent of respondents felt the brand felt "forced" or "fake." Sara Lynn Michener, who told the NYT she stopped shopping at Victoria's Secret "about 10 years ago," revealed her reluctance to patronize the brand's stores was due mostly to their "pinkness," as well as the larger than life visuals featuring impossibly perfect "glamazon" models.