“LOWEST RATINGS EVER!”
Following months of speculations and the lowest ratings ever (for the 2018 VS Fashion show,) L Brands decided to cancel 2019’s Victoria’s Secret Fashion show, saying the decision was part of a move to “evolve the messaging of [the company]”.
During the company’s third quarter earnings call, CFO Stuart Burgdoerfer said:
“We’ll be communicating to customers, but nothing that I would say is similar in magnitude to the fashion show.”
“Given the decline in performance at Victoria’s Secret, we have substantially pulled back on capital investment in that business while we focus on ensuring that our merchandise resonates with customers,” L Brands said in its Q3 earnings report.
The first Victoria’s Secret fashion show aired in 1995, but last year the show fell to its lowest ratings since its inception.
In recent years, the show has generated controversy with publications from Cosmopolitan to The Guardian calling it sexist and anti-feminist.
No less than a year ago, Third Love’s CEO denounced (via open letter) “demeaning comments about women” by a Victoria’s Secret top executive. That, being in response to an interview that (then) chief marketing officer for L Brands, Ed Razek, who among other things said he didn’t think the brand should include “transsexuals” in its show.
“Why not? Because the show is a fantasy,”
Razek said in an interview with Vogue. “It’s a 42-minute entertainment special. That’s what it is.”
After apologizing for his “insensitive” comments earlier this year, Razek left the company.
The company has also dealt with the fallout from L Brands founder and CEO Leslie Wexner’s ties to disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein. In September, Wexner said that he was “embarrassed” that he put his trust in Epstein, saying:
“Being taken advantage of by someone who was so sick, so cunning, so depraved is something that I am embarrassed that I was even close to, but that is in the past.”
“WE MUST EVOLVE AND CHANGE TO GROW.”
“Fashion is a business of change. We must evolve and change to grow. With that in mind, we have decided to re-think the traditional Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show,”
said Wexner in a statement sent to the company’s associates. “Going forward we don’t believe network television is the right fit,”