Victoria’s Secret marketing is about to look a whole different.
On Wednesday, it was announced they would be moving beyond its famous “Angel” models and featuring a group of faces that include USWNT star Megan Rapinoe.
As the brand’s new head told The New York Times, it’s a change that has been a long time coming:
“When the world was changing, we were too slow to respond,” said Martin Waters, the former head of Victoria’s Secret’s international business who was appointed chief executive of the brand in February. “We needed to stop being about what men want and to be about what women want.”
Rapinoe, 35, has been among the most-progressive and outspoken athletes in the United States in recent years.
Waters told the Times that Victoria’s Secret’s famous “Angels” will be phased out, saying he doesn’t see them as being “culturally relevant.”
“It was, Ms. Rapinoe said bluntly, “patriarchal, sexist, viewing not just what it meant to be sexy but what the clothes were trying to accomplish through a male lens and through what men desired. And it was very much marketed toward younger women.” That message, she said, was “really harmful.”
In the Angels’ place will be the “VS Collective,” a group of seven women that includes Rapinoe and actress Priyanka Chopra Jonas. Don’t expect to to frequently see the USWNT captain in skimpy underwear.
The VS Collective will apparently factor heavily into marketing materials and even feature heavily in a podcast. Rapinoe and Chopra Jonas will also reportedly introduce new product lines next spring.
“Of course there will be people who are like, ‘Does this make sense?’” said Ms. Rapinoe, who acknowledged that when she was first approached, “I, too, was like, ‘What? Why do you want to work with me?’” She said she had been convinced by the willingness of the brand’s executives to acknowledge their mistakes and history, and by the fact that her role is not limited to the typical “brand ambassadorship,” but extends to consulting on language the company uses, the assortment of products it offers and narrative it’s putting out.
With her new marketing deal, Rapinoe will add Victoria’s Secret to a list of endorsements that includes Nike, Subway, Clif Bar, Schmidt’s deodorant and life insurance firm Symetra, per KRCR.