L Brands' ($LB) lingerie giant Victoria's Secret has been a magnet for controversy over the past few years, and their social media engagement hasn't exactly picked up the slack.
In 2018, former chief marketing officer Ed Razek told Vogue that he wouldn't cast any transgender or plus-size models in the brand's iconic annual fashion show, "because the show is a fantasy."
In the three days following that interview, Victoria's Secret's Twitter lost 100,000 followers. Over the next year, the company launched a corrective campaign featuring trans and plus-size models and announced that the fashion show would not be returning.
Just a few days ago, a New York Times exposé revealed the company's culture of misogyny, bullying, and harassment. Razek, who was the main perpetrator, is retiring. L Brands founder and chief executive Leslie Wexner is in talks to step down. But this C-level shift may not change things: In addition to allowing Razek's behavior, Wexner was said to have ties to Jeffrey Epstein.
Meanwhile, the number of people talking about Victoria's Secret on Facebook has gone down from 114k, on the day the fashion show cancelation was announced last November, to just 82.5k today.
Somewhat unsurprisingly, the lingerie company continues to thrive on the image-based social networking service Instagram. As of last month, it's the second-biggest corporate brand on the platform with 69M followers. Its relatively unpopular Twitter content mainly consists of "buy one, get one" sale alerts. Recently, it's begun experimenting with more glossy model shots in a likely attempt to mimic whatever success it's found on Instagram.
Last year, Victoria's Secret closed 53 locations. For years, the company was a staple in American malls, as ubiquitous as Sbarro was to the food court. But, as rumors spread about its potential sale and the retail apocalypse rages on, the future Victoria's Secret continues to darken.
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