Label: Victoria's Sales Secret
July 7, 2008
NEW YORK (AdAge.com)
-- Sexy lingerie might seem recession-proof, but
same-store sales at Victoria's Secret have been
languishing, down 7% in the last quarter. So it's only
natural for the chain to go to school on its thriving
Only 4 years old, the company's Pink label is nearing
the $1 billion barrier, which would account for roughly
17% of the retailer's total sales last year. Now the
company is taking Pink, the more flirty than sultry
little sister to Victoria's Secret to the college crowd
that favors it -- literally. It is introducing the
Collegiate Collection of licensed T-shirts, sweats,
totes and underwear for 33 universities, ranging from
the University of Michigan to Texas A&M to Harvard.
The launch -- easily the label's most comprehensive yet
-- will be supported and promoted by a campus tour
program and paid collegiate brand ambassadors. It's
designed to further entrench it with the
18-to-22-year-old set. "This grass-roots approach is a
brilliant approach for them," said Thomas Filandro, an
analyst with Susquehanna Financial Group. "It's a
powerful way to connect with the core customer that
The strategy is also an effective way to cultivate
customers for the flagging $5.6 billion Victoria's
Secret brand, which like Pink is owned by Limited
Brands. Pink, sold at Victoria's Secret stores, in its
catalog and online, is one of the few consistent bright
spots in the Victoria's Secret empire. Six dedicated
Pink stores are also open, with plans for more on the
"Pink has been a tremendous growth vehicle for them and
gives them an opportunity to capture that customer at a
much younger age than Victoria's Secret was able to do
previously," Mr. Filandro said. "The earlier they can
get her, the more likely it is they'll keep her."
The deal will allow Pink to foster relationships with
the students, schools and community, said Sara Tervo,
VP-public relations and event marketing. Plans for
future partnerships are clearly top of mind.
"Our strategy with this is to learn as we go and try to
take what's working and make it bigger," Ms. Tervo said.
"This is a great next step for us for this fall season.
If we learn there is an opportunity to expand ... we
would try to exercise that as early as spring of next
year. I think it could double or triple its size in
short order, but we want to be very thoughtful and
At least one school, the University of Minnesota, is
attempting to pull out of the deal, citing Victoria's
Secret's reputation, although items are still for sale
on the Pink website. Ms. Tervo said she is unaware of
the status of that negotiation.
To ensure maximum visibility on campuses throughout the
collection's inaugural year, Pink is, for the first
time, hiring two to three brand ambassadors at each of
15 campuses. Hundreds of résumés have been received, and
the selected students will go through a training program
in August to prepare them for the yearlong assignment,
Ms. Tervo said.
"It's an opportunity for our Pink customer to give back
to the brand and provide insight on strategy," she said.
"We're hoping these brand ambassadors can help come up
with some great ideas. They're going to help inform what
our strategy will be for spring."
For the fall, the students will be charged with handling
the brand's new Recycle Your Sweats program, placing
bins on campus for donations of used clothing. They'll
also be responsible for promoting the arrival of Pink's
pop-up store, a wrapped Airstream bought on eBay. The
students will even embark on business trips, traveling
to six college football games, where they'll help
promote various game-day events for the brand.
Pink's official back-to-school program kicks off July 17
with Pinkapalooza at the Santa Monica Pier. The company
is expecting 15,000 people to turn out for the event,
which will feature competitions between rivals USC and
UCLA, as well as a concert by Fall Out Boy.
This article is copyrighted material, the use of
which has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We
are making such material available in our efforts to advance
understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic,
democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this
constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided
for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17
U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without
profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the
included information for research and educational purposes. For more
information go to:
you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your
own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the