Victoria’s Secret ‘Perfect Body’ campaign sparks backlash

Victoria’s Secret’s latest campaign may not look any different from their previous advertisements; a slew of tall and thin models posing sexily in lingerie. But with the words “The Perfect Body” splashed across the ad, the controversial campaign has created a lot of heat for the company.

First spotted in the U.K., consumers took to Twitter to voice their concerns over the lingerie’s company’s ad which many said promoted an unhealthy body image for woman.

“Every day women are bombarded with advertisements aimed at making them feel insecure about their bodies, in the hope that they will spend money on products that will supposedly make them happier and more beautiful,” a petition created by three British college students wrote. “This marketing campaign is harmful. It fails to celebrate the amazing diversity of women’s bodies by choosing to call only one body type ‘perfect.’”

The petition has more than 9,000 signatures and counting so far. The college students also created a hashtag movement on social media, asking people to tweet their disapproval using the hashtag #iamperfect.

The ad has been getting panned by all sorts, including one unlikely critic – Courtney Stodden.

It’s sad that 1 body type is being labeled as ‘The Perfect Body’. There are so many different shades of perfection.

— Courtney Stodden (@CourtneyStodden) October 29, 2014

Dear @VictoriasSecret, please use your sway to improve, not shatter, people’s confidence in their bodies #iamperfect

— Dan Howarth (@danhowarth) October 29, 2014

No such thing as a perfect body, @VictoriasSecret. Please, stop perpetuating this myth. Only harmful. #iamperfect

— Anne A. Wilson (@Anne_A_Wilson) October 29, 2014

Psssst. Have you heard? YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL! #iamperfect

— Dabney Porte (@DabneyPorte) October 30, 2014

The “Perfect Body” isn’t just one body type, it’s all of them. #iamperfect

— Melanie Dauterive (@ohslowdown) October 30, 2014

The #iamperfect campaign against @VictoriasSecret via @brandsynario

— Rida Sadiq (@Ritzaheer) October 31, 2014

According the the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), research has shown that the media has a strong influence on a woman’s body image.

“Of course we find the phrase ‘a perfect body’ offensive and demeaning,” President and CEO of NEDA Lynn Grefe told Yahoo Style. “Our goal should be health and respect for our own individuality. Shame on Victoria’s Secret, but this is not exactly a surprise since they do not in any way set the example for body diversity and self-esteem at all shapes and sizes.”

The advertisement remains on Victoria’s Secret’s website.

Apologise for, and amend the irresponsible marketing of your new bra range ‘Body’

We would like Victoria’s Secret to apologise and take responsibility for the unhealthy and damaging message that their ‘Perfect Body’ campaign sends out about women’s bodies and how they should be judged.

We would like Victoria’s Secret to change the wording on their advertisements for their bra range Body, to something that does not promote unhealthy and unrealistic standards of beauty, as well as pledge to not use such harmful marketing in the future.

Tweet #iamperfect to @VictoriasSecret to help spread the message!

Follow Frances @francesnoir, Gabriella @GKountourides and Laura @CardyGirl on twitter for all the updates!

Every day women are bombarded with advertisements aimed at making them feel insecure about their bodies, in the hope that they will spend money on products that will supposedly make them happier and more beautiful.

All this does is perpetuate low self-esteem among women who are made to feel that their bodies are inadequate and unattractive because they do not fit into a narrow standard of beauty. It contributes to a culture that encourages serious health problems such as negative body image and eating disorders.

Victoria’s Secret’s new advertisements play on women’s insecurities, and send out a damaging message by positioning the words ‘The Perfect Body’ across models who have exactly the same, very slim body type.

This marketing campaign is harmful. It fails to celebrate the amazing diversity of women’s bodies by choosing to call only one body type ‘perfect’.

Victoria’s Secret is hugely popular among young women, and they have a crucial responsibility to not use harmful and unhealthy ideas to market their products. We would like Victoria’s Secret to take responsibility for their irresponsibility.

We’re asking them to change the advertisements and pledge not to use such marketing in the future.

Join us in telling Victoria’s Secret #iamperfect

LM131 Creative industry and promotional culture

Annabel Allen-Stevens

(Video 1: Victoria Secret ‘Perfect Body’ Advert of 2014.)

Victoria Secret, a brand created in 1977, with the vision of making ‘all things feminine and sexy’. So in was in 2014 the multi-million company started their ‘Perfect Body’ campaign, to promote the values they uphold. The tall, slender models portrayed in the adverts caused a backlash on all forms of mediums. From Youtube commenters to the #iamperfect on Twitter, society started to argue against this pre-feminist brand.

Victoria Secret was created by Roy Raymond with an attempt to abolish the stigma around men buying their significant others underwear.

In a society of post-feminism and postmodernism came a successful company with a strong ambition, and in 1982, Leslie Wexner brought out Victoria Secret’s brand and catalogues for approximately $1 million; this time with a different prospect, Wexners new intention was to spread the demographic and focus on the target audience of females. Judging from the history of Victoria’s Secret they aspired to make genders comfortable in their store whilst buying lingerie. Which is ironic considering the campaign of 2014.

Bus stop advertisement for Victoria Secret’s ‘The Perfect Body’

Figure 1: Three models stand confidently, all the same height and size. The advert itself was the disruption for society due to the slogan, ‘The Perfect “Body”‘.

Figure 2- Series of tweets describing their self-image in comparison to Victoria Secret models.

Figure 2: Shows some of the mental repercussions from the Victoria Secret adverts, each ‘tweeter’ claiming their wish to be ‘perfect’ like Victoria Secret’

(Video 2: Influence of Media on Body Image and Self Esteem)

Video 2: Shows how media can affect the younger generations, showing Victoria Secret advertisements to outline the self-esteem issues this brings to society.

Figure 3: An advertisement created as a contrast to the original Victoria Secret, ‘Perfect Body’ advert.

Figure 3: Shows how women can be of different sizes and shapes, it promotes an equality and diversity of women.

(Video 3: Youtuber’s opinion on the ‘Perfect Body’ Campaign.)

Video 3: A youtuber explains the controversy around the campaign,however contrasts it by explaining what the brand meant by ‘body’.

Video 4: Recent Victoria Secret advert; ‘Santa Baby’ realised December 2016.

Video 4: Observes the Victoria Secret models in a flirtatious manner, similar to the advert that caused so much controversy in 2014 (video 1)

Victoria Secret. The images and videos portray an overview, how Victoria Secret affected society with its campaign (figure 1 and video 1), especially for the younger generation (video 2). Observing how Victoria Secret’s advert affected others (figure 2 and video 3) there is a clear understanding that this ‘sexy’ and ‘powerful’ organisation uses unrealistic models to portray a habitus of perfection. Whilst society tries to argue this (figure3) it seems Victoria Secret just continues (video 4).

Snippets on Marketing

What comes into your mind when you hear the phrase “I Love My Body“?

I translate that as “loving my body, despite the social standards or however I look.”

Ironically, the Victoria’s Secret’s campaign with the slogan “I Love My Body” includes a poster of “Victoria’s Secret Angels” (models) lined up in their new “Body by Victoria” lingerie collection. These models are about 5’10”, size two, with measurements 34-25-34. That is quite a big discrepancy between the models and the body figures of most women.

Victoria’s Secret vs. Dove

Many people who came across this advertisement expressed their disagreements. Mainly, consumers were uncomfortable at the fact that the models used for the campaign have unattainable bodies. The models also all look very similar, with same hairstyles, same body figures, same facial expressions. By using these so called ‘perfect models’, with the slogan, gives off the wrong message. These models love their bodies, whereas if an average woman compared her body with the models, she wouldn’t be able to find a reason why she should love hers. Similarly, Dove made a campaign where they used various sizes of women ranging from size 4 to 10. Dove got a lot of attention for their campaign for using the images of women we can find around us. In contrast Victoria’s Secret was criticized for using artificially maintained models to portray the idea of beauty.

So despite all the criticisms, why does Victoria’s Secret choose to continue promoting their slender models? It’s simply because it sells. It’s visually enticing. The company stands in its place as the #1 lingerie store in the world due to their sexy image. As much as consumers are upset at their ‘ideal body figure’, Victoria’s Secret knows that if they used average women as their models, they would not earn nearly as much money as they do now. At the end, the campaign doesn’t seem to celebrate the diversity in women’s body figures; it’s just showing off their sexy models as well as their newly launched lingerie collection.

Problems With Victoria”s Secret “Perfect Body” Campaign And Why We Should Shun This Phrase!

By Sukirti Dwivedi:

Victoria’s Secret became the target of public fury because of its recently launched ad campaign that featured ten slim and tall supermodels standing next to each other along with the tagline “The Perfect Body”. The ad was termed as “body-shaming” and “irresponsible” for sending a wrong message in terms of defining the ideal body image and beauty. Other lingerie brands like Dear Kate and J.D. Williams had responded to the ad by launching campaigns of their own which featured women across a range of sizes in order to encourage women of all ages, sizes and shapes to take pride in their body. More than 26,000 people even signed a petition launched by three British students on asking Victoria’s Secret to apologize and terminate the campaign.

In the latest turn of events, the company has changed the tagline of the ad to “A Body for Every Body” on its official website and it now looks like this:

However, the company did not release a formal statement about the change and posters in stores still have “The Perfect Body” tagline. 3 Leeds University students, Frances Black, Gabrielle Kountourides and Laura Ferris, who are the organizers of the petition, were delighted to see the new ad and felt that it reflected “a more inclusive and healthy message”. But the young crusaders now want Victoria’s Secret to change all the posters in their stores. This is not the first time that Victoria’s Secret is facing flak for its commercial. In the past too it came under fire because of its “Love my body” ad which featured models of exactly the same, slim body type.

The marketing approach of companies like Victoria’s secret endorses distorted notions of what a woman must look like. If one was to go according to their motto, would a fat or short woman be “imperfect” and unworthy of “love”? Ads like these glorify slender and dainty women and create an idyllic aura around them. They worsen the situation in the society by reinforcing stereotypes about the “ultimate” woman.

Consequently, a large number of female viewers of these ads end up developing an inferiority complex about themselves. They live in self-abhorrence and strive to reach the unachievable epitome of the “perfect” body type.

There needs to be a paradigm shift in the way ideas of having a beautiful body are construed and perceived in our society. At a time when eating disorders and obesity are becoming an increasingly dangerous health issue, the emphasis should be on having a fit body rather than a “poster-perfect” one. Such a change can only be brought about when ways of social conditioning are modified. Instead of deifying the skinny body type, girls should be egged on to maintain a nutritious diet. They should be brought up in a manner that they have faith in their individuality and respect themselves irrespective of whether they are a size 8 or 14.

When it comes to aspirations about body type, an eye opening video on YouTube reveals how kids are a lot more sorted out than adults. Made by the JubileeProject, it shows how several adults and children responded to the question – What is the one thing that they would change about their bodies if they could? All the adults were concerned about things they would want to fix about their appearance. However, the kids wanted wings, cheetah legs to run faster, or a mermaid tail. But the one person who stands out among them all is the old lady who appears at the end and says “Nothing. Because it just wouldn’t be me if I totally changed the way I look”.

WE magazine for women

Woman of a Certain Age, by Marcia Barhydt

I recently saw a post on Facebook comparing the models of Victoria’s Secret with the models of the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty. The photos stopped me in my track! If you visit this page, you’ll see what I’m talking about… or

If you can’t see the page, let me describe it to you. There are 2 photos, one from Victoria’s Secret and one from Dove. Both photos are of young women in their underwear, panties and a bra.

I’ve spoken before about the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty which started out addressing pre-teens and ended up highlighting older women, making the point that we’re all beautiful just the way we are, no matter what age we are, no matter what size we are.

Now Victoria’s Secret is jumping on the bandwagon with their own campaign called Love My Body Campaign. It turns out though that this campaign isn’t so much about loving your body as it is about buying a new line of Victoria’s lingerie.

BUT if this were a real competition, how would it play out I wonder. Do we all still covet the skinny minny body of a runway model or a magazine model? Are there those of us who still are unaware of Photo Shopping of all models magazine photos to digitally remove both blemishes and pounds?

How many of our little sisters, our daughters, our granddaughters are dieting to fit in, at least in their own eyes, to the body flashed over every kind of media advertising? So then, can we lay the blame for this travesty of our young girls at the feet of the Madison Avenue ad agencies? Or the Paris couturiers? Or at the feet of the consumers, our young girls? Is their buy-in influenced by a genuine desire to fit in?

The topic is a huge one that’s very much in the spotlight today as some pioneers, Seventeen Magazine, Special K cereal, or Wilhelmina Models and Vogue Magazine are becoming aware of the backlash to their oh-so-skinny models. Well, good then, for the pioneers.

There is, I believe, another frontier where this battle needs to be fought: right here in our own lives and the lives of our daughters. We need to make sure that our daughters know how beautiful they are no matter what their body shape is.

And we need to make sure that we know it too.

I’m a woman of a certain age, and I’m certain about my beauty.

©Marcia Barhydt, 2012

COLUMBUS, OH: Dove and UK fashion retailer JD Williams have joined in the customer backlash against the Victoria’s Secret Perfect Body campaign, which critics say is sending the wrong message to young women.

The campaign launched last week across the brand’s UK stores and US website with an image showing slender models in Victoria’s Secret lingerie and emblazoned with the slogan “The Perfect Body.”

The ad references the brand’s Body range, but critics said the campaign can be damaging to women’s self-esteem.

UK-based plus-size fashion retailer JD Williams has responded with its own Perfectly Imperfect campaign, encouraging users to share their favorite aspects of themselves under the #FavouriteFlaw hashtag on Twitter.

A spokesman for the retailer said: “We have a responsibility as a retailer to promote positive body image to our customers, and that means being representative of women in the UK.”

Dove has also stepped into the fray, releasing an image of curvier women in their underwear with the slogan “The Perfect Real Body,” in reference to its Real Beauty campaign.

The brand tweeted, “Today we celebrate the perfect REAL body and all the women who have said “#IAmPerfect the way I am.”

Retailer Dear Kate has also recreated the Victoria’s Secret ad to show women from a range of different ethnicities and body shapes wearing its underwear.

Today we celebrate the perfect REAL body and all the women who have said “#IAmPerfect the way I am.” #TBT

— Dove (@Dove) October 30, 2014

A petition has been created on that calls on Victoria’s Secret to apologize and amend its “irresponsible” campaign. So far, it has received more than 20,000 signatures.

It appears that Victoria’s Secret has pulled the image off its website. The company has yet to respond to a request for comment.

This story originally appeared on the website of Marketing.

#IamPerfect Backlash Is Perfect Answer to Victoria’s Secret “Perfect Body” Campaign

Tampa Bay Scene

Long-limbed, long-haired, and flat-tummied: There’s not much difference between each of the thin, gorgeous, (airbrushed) models used in the new Victoria’s Secret “perfect body” bra campaign. And that’s the problem. Women all over the world are taking offense to the idea that there is such a thing as a perfect body and, even more, that these genetic anomalies might be it. Victoria’s Secret says the ad campaign is simply a play on words as a way to show off their “body” line as “perfect fit, perfect comfort, and perfectly soft.” Yet their customers obviously don’t see it that way. The #iamperfect hashtag is already blowing up Twitter and Instagram as women and girls of all shapes, sizes, and colors proclaim love for their own unique bodies.

Decrying the idea of perfection, User Sedruoula tweeted, “Thinking that #iamperfect in all my imperfection.. @VictoriasSecret because there is no perfect body. 🙂 #blessed”

RELATED: 10 Celebs on Body Image and Aging Beautifully

Even other corporate giants have jumped in the fray. Dove has resurrected their “Real Beauty” campaign as a way to hit back at the perfect body ideal, tweeting yesterday, “Today we celebrate the perfect REAL body and all the women who have said “#IAmPerfect the way I am.” #TBT “

Pasting the words “perfect body” in gigantic letters across supermodels isn’t very subtle. And in a world where we are often told that our bodies don’t measure up in some way (and so we have to buy something to fix them, of course!), the ad is particularly jarring. It’s even more insulting when you consider the level of photoshopping that Victoria’s Secret is notorious for using. Not even the perfect women are really perfect! While the venerable lingerie store hasn’t issued a reply to the criticisms yet, the ad on their homepage has been changed to read “Love every body! Find the perfect styles for your body.” The original ad is still the header on the main VS Body page, however. So what is the perfect body? We say it’s the one you have!

  • By Charlotte Hilton Andersen

Victorias secret perfect body

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