Rachel and The City: VS’s “The Perfect ‘Body’” Campaign Far From Perfect

For the past few weeks, women’s bodies have been a trending topic in the media. From The Huffington Post to E!, unfortunately everyone can’t stop talking about Kim Kardashian’s nude shoot with Paper magazine. Victoria’s Secret, on the other hand, has taken a backseat after heated responses towards their recent launch.

If you haven’t heard about the controversy surrounding VS’s “The Perfect ‘Body’” campaign, you’re not alone (I didn’t hear about it until a week ago). The campaign premiered in the UK, and after over 20,000 signatures from a Change.org petition, that’s where it’s going to stay. VS launched the slogan, “The Perfect ‘Body,’” in-stores and online to advertise their infamous “body” bra. You would think VS’s PR team would have raised a red flag to the creative department when they viewed not only the slogan, but the images that went along with it — images of models such as Candice Swanepoel, Lily Aldridge, and Behati Prinsloo representing a perfect (and, let’s face it, an overall unrealistic) body. For those who automatically see the play on words with the name of the bra, it’s kinda clever on VS’s part, trying to push the idea that the bra is a great fit for anyone. However, understandably, it carries a negative connotation as well.

Photo courtesy of the NY Post

According to The Huffington Post, the Change.org petition discusses the everyday insecurities women feel after seeing advertisements that encourage the purchase of products such as VS’s “body” bra. The ad persuades customers that the purchase will 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."

Protestors are using the hashtag, #iamperfect, to help spread awareness. Even the underwear brand, “Dear Kate,” created their own “The Perfect Body” ad the way they believe it should have been presented in the first place — featuring women of ALL body types. After a couple of weeks of backlash, Victoria’s Secret changed their slogan to, “A Body for Every Body.” Smart move on their part — but can they ever truly erase the damage they’ve done? VS has yet to release an official statement about the topic despite the changes they have made.

Photo courtesy of “Dear Kate”

I’m all for the VS Angels — they represent the brand and they should continue to do so. But it’s pretty clear Victoria’s Secret should never have released the slogan in the first place. Once the brand associates the models with the word “perfect,” customers are bound to take offense towards it. VS’s PR department could have avoided this headache if they just put some more thought into projecting the public’s response.

After all of the buzz, VS is not exactly the most favored brand in the UK at the moment. Yet ironically, for the first time the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show will be heading to London. The premiere date still remains unknown, but I’m sure when the day comes, Victoria’s Secret will become a trending topic in the headlines once again. I guess we’ll just have to stay tuned, Collegiettes!