We’re going to go out on a limb here and declare the Victoria’s Secret fashion show to be the most polarizing holiday tradition in TV history. It’s an annual rendezvous for fans, lovers, and haters alike to gather around a screen (or boycott the event in protest) to watch scantily clad amazons of perfection strutting and shimmying down a megawatt catwalk to the beats of the day’s biggest pop sensation. Victoria’s Secret Angels: they’re (not) just like us!
The TV event has also become tradition on this very blog, where we break down the social impact of all that Angel and Angel-in-training power. Because in today’s landscape, nothing matters without social proof, amiright?
Before we get into numbers and start talking social media impressions, let’s just relish in the event for a sec. After international stints in both London and Paris, this year’s grandiose affair took place in Shanghai — perhaps in an effort to court the Chinese market? But the road to the far East was not an easy one, with reports of problematic visa situations for some of the models, even for one the brand’s biggest headliners, Gigi Hadid. Her sister Bella was there, though (more on her later).
It was a high octane night, complete with Harry Styles leading the musical acts (as a Katy Perry stand-in, no less), veteran Angel Alessandra Ambrosio taking her final strut on the VS stage, and a graceful tumble by hometown homegirl Ming Xi to round out the action-packed shindig. Not to mention the imminent launch of the special Victoria’s Secret x Balmain collection, which was set for the following morning.
But with declining television ratings in recent years and again last night, how did this all translate on Instagram? TV viewership might be taking a nosedive, but the Angels’ clout is constantly rising. Each individual model experiences tremendous audience growth on a daily basis, which should technically expand Victoria’s Secret social reach year over year. Dropping boob tube views can likely be attributed to the growing cord-cutting trend, but the brand’s social footprint should be bigger than ever before… So was it?
Time to dive in to all of the juicy Instagram insights!
As we know, the show tapes at an earlier date than it airs, and both the models and VS promote the affair on social upon those two occasions. Just like last year, the days around the show’s taping (11/20) actually garnered more Instagram hype than the air date (11/28), with a higher number of earned content translating to a broader reach.
The VS account received over 3K pieces of UGC yielding over 189 million impressions around the taping, while it received over 1.7K pieces of UGC yielding over 140 million impressions around the days of the TV spot. That is slightly less than last year.
In fact, the night of the show didn’t exactly garner much follower growth for the Victoria’s Secret Instagram account. Never to be underestimated, the night of the taping brought the buzz, earning the brand 120k new followers in the span of 2 days, compared to its 43k daily average.
This post of Bella Hadid on the night of the show’s taping in Shanghai was Victoria’s Secret most popular post of the entire affair, ringing it at a 1.69% engagement rate (and likely still climbing). To put this in perspective, the brand’s average is 0.37%. Bella has arguably the most star power of all the VS models.
Meanwhile, if we look beyond UGC, we find that Bella Hadid — who apparently doesn’t have it in her contract to tag the brand in her social posts — actually has the most influential post of the night, coming in just shy of a million likes and at a 5.31% engagement rate.
You can’t hide from Instagram stats, and the verdict is in: the numbers are down this year. There was no Gigi, there was no Kendall. Harry Styles didn’t post about the show, while both Gaga and The Weeknd did last year. That probably affected the numbers.
The night of the taping brought more hype around the brand than its actual public TV air date, and this is in spite of a hot Balmain collection dropping the next morning. This all seems to be indicative of something bigger brewing, begging the question: are people experiencing Angel fatigue? Unlikely. But perhaps the whole spectacle of flawless leggy beauts donning pretty ridiculous lingerie that no one would ever actually wear irl is starting to wear on people.
Fans are always going to support their favorite girls, but perhaps this is a hint that Victoria’s Secret can’t keep cloning its tried and true formula. The current collective psyche has moved on, and it will take more than a Shanghai jaunt to get the magic back. Or simply to move forward.
As Harry would say, it’s a sign of the times.
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