Victoria’s Secret has a strategy for casting models that’s worth $6 billion

Josephine Skriver Victoria's Secret

Victoria’s Secret is unstoppable.

Victoria’s Secret stores’ $6.1 billion in 2015 sales shattered records. 

One reason for the brand’s massive success is its brilliant marketing strategy.

The company is very careful about who it selects to be its models, which the brand calls Angels. 

Victoria’s Secret’s advertising team chooses models they believe female customers will relate to (and if not, relate, then at least like and follow on Instagram.)

“The merchants drive the decisions on the Angels. They [Victoria’s Secret] try the girls out, and certain girls sell product. They’re women that appeal to other women. And they’re special because they never appear in men’s magazines. Once you start to do that, they become threatening [to potential female customers],” Richard Habberley of DNA Model Management told Women’s Wear Daily.

This strategy is evident. The company famously parted ways with Miranda Kerr, and there was speculation that it was because she was threatening to women. And although Victoria’s Secret featured photos of Kate Upton in a catalogue (without her permission), Victoria’s Secret’s casting director Sophia Neophitou told The New York Times said the company “would never use” Kate Upton because she was too flashy for the brand.

The women who have stuck around to become successful veteran Angels include Adriana Lima and Alessandra Ambrosio, and they both highly publicize how important their families are to them. Having Angels who are mothers also helps hook older consumers, not just young girls.

Additionally, many women who start out as PINK models become Angels. Angels Sara Sampaio, Taylor Hill, and Elsa Hosk all walked the runway for Victoria’s Secret’s younger sister brand before getting tapped to be an Angel, as though testing to see how young girls feel about their personalities.

Recently, Victoria’s Secret hired former PINK model Josephine Skriver to become an Angel

Skriver is notable because she was born IVF and has two sets of gay parents; she has been an outspoken activist for gay marriage, giving her a personal platform.

“When people look at me and know that I’m an IVF kid, I hope they see a person, a human being, just like anyone else. You get so many, ‘She’s not made the natural way, she shouldn’t even be here,’ but I am not a science experiment, I am not synthetic, I am just as real as you are,” she said in a video interview with i-D.

Companies like Adore Me are trying to compete with the lingerie behemoth, but they have a long way to go. Victoria’s Secret controls 61.8% of the lingerie market, according to IBIS World, and the sales speak for themselves.

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