Victoria’s Secret has replaced CEO, Jan Singer, with John Mehas, days after the ThirdLove open letter in the Times in response to Victoria’s Secret CMO, Ed Razek’s, degrading remarks in his recent Vogue interview. Although the ThirdLove letter may have not been the sole reason for change in leadership, it has shed light on the company culture that needs to evolve to better communicate to the modern consumer. With Victoria’s Secret’s sales declining rapidly, the last thing the brand needed was an open letter in the Times criticizing their outdated views on women.
Heidi Zak, CEO of ThirdLove, felt it was her mission to explain why the brand’s male-fantasy marketing tactics, un-inclusive sizing and discriminatory culture has prompted antithesis brands, such as ThirdLove, to grow in the marketplace.
The letter was addressed to Victoria’s Secret on Ed Razek’s appalling commentary and approach towards marketing to women. “You market to men and sell a male fantasy to women. But at ThirdLove, we think beyond, as you said, a “42-minute entertainment special.” Your show may be a “fantasy” but we live in reality. Our reality is that women wear bras in real life as they go to work, breastfeed their children, play sports, care for ailing parents, and serve their country,” said Zak.
Is the disconnect that Victoria’s Secret has between their “fantasy world” and the reality of their consumer to blame for their decline? Zak’s explains how ThirdLove fills in the disconnect between fantasy and reality, “I founded ThirdLove five years ago because it was time to create a better option. ThirdLove is the antithesis of Victoria’s Secret. We believe the future is building a brand for every woman, regardless of her shape, size, age, ethnicity, gender identity, or sexual orientation. This shouldn’t be seen as groundbreaking, it should be the norm.”