In general, public relations involve a planned promotion of goods, services and images of organizations intended to create goodwill for a person, place or event (Curtis, 2011).
« The three general kinds of PR work are publicity, event management and publication design » (Curtis, 2011). The integration of these tools allow companies « to influence public opinion and are designed to promote and protect an individual or organization’s image and products » (Curtis, 2011).
In the frames of this analysis I would like to investigate the differences and similarities between Victoria’s Secret and Etam PR activities and overall impression that could be get from the available publications in the last 4 years.
Victoria’S Secret Сore PR Фctivities
In terms of overall publicity activities, Victoria’s Secret launched a special site designed for PR, where it shares the most recent company information about its activities and products. It allows company to have the overall control on information that is shared by various publicities and have a reliable source of information that can be used for PR objectives.
The site has a very good navigation and allows to retrieve all company hot news and information in the easiest way. Thus, for example, the site has 3 big banners on the front page that are related mainly with the coming Fashion Show. On top of that, via navigation bards can be found information about the latest collections, prices and all related videos.
Moreover, from the special Victoria’s Secret PR website it can be identified that the core of all company’s PR activities are related with its Fashion Show that takes place every year starting from 1999 when it was webcasted for the first time (Wikipedia, 2014). It usually takes place near the Christmas time, that usually a very favorable time- from one side, it’s the season of the overall the hottest sales period due to coming Christmas holidays with huge spendings on gifts, from the over side, it’s the most suitable time to Angels who present Victoria’s Secret products to appear that also helps to enhance overall brand image.
Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show
Speaking about Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show specifically I should mention very strong organization of the event from PR point of view.
First of all, the show is broadcasted on the top American channel with the global reach –CBS in the prime time (Wikipedia, 2014). It makes the show not a special event for a people who are engaged in fashion, rather a mass entertainment show.
Secondly, the show is also a true international event, as it takes place not only in the USA, but outside North America, in such places as France (Cannes) and London (Earls Court) this year (Victoria’s Secret, 2014).
Thirdly, being an entertainment event it also includes such important attribute as life music from high ranked artists. For instance, this year the following artists were presented during the Show: Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran, Ariana Grande and Hozier (Victoria’s Secret, 2014).
Victoria’s Secret Angels
Considering Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show more precisely, it can easy to found out that its focus is models, who are called Angels.
Overall, Victoria’s Secret Angels can be called one of the brand assets, who also take very strong PR attention in terms of number and diversity of the associated publications and videos available in the Internet and key beauty and fashion magazines (e.g. Glamour).
Victoria’s Secret sets up very high selection standards for its Angels (selection process can be seen in the video below), that makes the work with the brand very prestigious for top models. It can be compared with the work of programmer in Google, after which the career can boost (Verbi, 2014).
Importantly, in 2007 that was the year of Victoria’s Secret’s 25th anniversary Angels honored to mark on Hollywood Boulevard. Among them were: Heidi Klum, Adriana Lima, Alessandra Ambrosio, Karolina Kurkova, Selita Ebanks, Izabel Goulart, Marisa Miller, and Miranda Kerr (Wikipedia, 2014).
This very tough selection of models for Fashion Show allows company to present on the podium only « angel » looking models with long legs, chubby lips, high cheek-bone, long hairs and sportive outlook. However, « angel » looking is also very different that enables Victoria’s Secret to reach different consumers targets, hence, models may be: blond, brunette, with Asian type of face, with black skin, very well-set-up and a big bigger. To enhance « angel » outlook, the company also uses different « angel attributes », such as: big wings, tails, transparent clothes and big jewelry (Verbi, 2014).
Eventually, around 6 models are get selected and become Angels and will be also very engaged in the company’s PR activities. Thus, for example, in 2004 instead of the annual fashion show, the Angels (Tyra Banks, Heidi Klum, Gisele Bündchen, Adriana Lima, and Alessandra Ambrosio) did an « Angels Across America Tour » visiting four major cities: New York City, Miami, Las Vegas, and Los Angeles (Wikipedia, 2014).
On top of PR activities, Angels also present Victoria’s Secret collections (e.g. latest collection in the video below).
Wings, which Angels wear during Fashion Show are also one of the brand assets that are used for different PR communication purposes. During the show Angels wear very different type of wings (such as butterfly, peacock, or devil) that also show individuality of each Angel and respectively each Victoria’s Secret customer.
Another important element of Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show is a presentation of Fantasy Bra, that is specifically created for the Show. Usually the most deserved, professional and popular model is honored to wear this bra.
The first Fantasy Bra was presented in 1996 by Claudia Schiffer in the Christmas catalogue. The bra featured over 100 carats of diamonds and a variety of other semi-precious gemstones (Lankston, 2014).
Since 2001 Fantasy Bra has been worn in the Fashion Shows. Prior to each Fashion Show, Victoria’s Secret contracts a renowned jewelry designer to craft the bra to be used as a focal point for PR and overall promotion of the Fashion Show and as a centerpiece within it. Additionally, the company reached a world record with $15 million price tag for the 2000 bra worn by Gisele Bündchen and earned a place in the Guinness World Records as the most expensive item of lingerie ever created (Lankston, 2014). This is, for sure, was also a big company’s PR victory as this event was associated with very strong publications support.
In terms of models, who honored to present Fantasy Bra, Heidi Klum and Adriana Lima have worn the Fantasy Bra in three different years. Gisele Bündchen, Tyra Banks, Karolina Kurkova, and Alessandra Ambrosio have each worn two Fantasy Bras (Wikipedia, 2014).
In 2014 company created even 2 Fantasy Bras each costs $2 million which were presented by Adriana Lima and Alessandra Ambrosio. It was created by Mouawad Jewelly and took 1380 hours of work (Lankston, 2014). The video below shows the presentation of these incredible bras.
Etam Core PR Activities
Analysis of Internet publications and videos shows that in general Etam has much lower PR activities and support both in terms of number and diversity of publications.
In comparison with Victoria’s Secret, Etam doesn’t have special website for PR, but it has a Fashion Show specially designed site.
Etam followed Victoria’s Secret trend of Fashion Show as a core corporate PR event and launched its own show in 2007. However, the scope of the show is significantly lower than Victoria’s Secret one. For example, the show takes place only in France and is integrated in the Paris Fashion Week and get translated on-line and on TV.
Analysis of related articles in beauty and fashion magazines as well as overall impressions in the Internet allows to identify the key elements of the communication about the event. They are: description of the presented collection, top models presenting the collection (but mainly it’s related with the name of Natalia Vodyanova), famous artists and celebrities presented in the event (Etam, 2014).
For example, in 2014 the Show was visited by Catherine Deneuve, Peaches Geldof, Jamie Hince, Antoine Arnault. In terms of life music artists in the Show were presented: Breakbot, Kavinsky, Azealia Banks, Massive Attack, Eve, Cassius (Sontag, 2014).
Comparing the content of the event, the overall models outlook shows also very strong difference in comparison with Victoria’s Secret. Thus, outlook of some models isn’t clear in terms of communication. For example, why some models wear bridal veil (first photo) or have unclear overall outlook (second photo).
Overall, models present different textures in their costumes that included feathers, sequins, lace, embroidering and transparent fabric (Ukrday, 2014) that also leaves a space to consistency and clear communication.
Etam utilizes strong Natalia Vodyanova image as a top model and philantrope in order to enhance its PR communication and publicity presence.
Thus, results of the analysis show that the company creates a strong communication behind the new collection that was developed together with Natalia Vodyanova (see video below).
Moreover, communication related with 2014 Etam Fashion Show paid significant attention to Natalia Vodyanova’s presence.
To sum up the comparison of PR and Fashion Shows of Victoria’s Secret and Etam, I should highlight the following conclusions and recommendations:
- Victoria’s Secret has much stronger approach to PR, introducing special site for PR purposes and strong consistency and diversity of publications.
- Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show is very successful PR event, that can be called international and reaches the company target audience. Moreover, the Show constantly inlcudes and communicates Victoria’s Secret key brand assets: angels, wings and Fantasy Bras.
- Etam should enhance its overall PR strategy, improving its communication, creating a special PR site and driving communicatoin throught the year.
- Etam fashion show has a positive publicities perception, however, it should be still strongly improved both interms of its PR: wider set of publications, more diverse related topics and clearer messages; and incorporation of its key brand assets.
- Curtis, A. (2011). « What is Public Relations? ». Retrieved from: http://www2.uncp.edu/home/acurtis/Courses/ResourcesForCourses/PublicRelations/PublicRelationsWhatIsIt.html
- Etam Fashion Show. (2014). Retrieved from: http://defile.etam.com/en/#.VINYJDGG8rk
- Etam Spring-Summer 2014: Sex, Chic and Rock-n-Roll (in Russian). (2014). Retrieved from: http://fashion360.ru/stati/video/show/etam-vesna-leto-2014-seks-shik-i-rok-n-roll/
- Etam’s Lingerie Runway Extravaganza in France’s Answer to the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. (2013). Fashionista. Retrieved from: http://fashionista.com/2013/02/etams-lingerie-runway-extravaganza-is-frances-answer-to-the-victorias-secret-fashion-show#etam-live-show-lingerie-2013-runway-46
- Lankston, C. (2014). » As Victoria’s Secret unveils two Fantasy Bras, FEMAIL takes a look back at the history of the world’s most expensive lingerie ». MailOnline. Retrieved from: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2819365/A-Victoria-s-Secret-unveils-two-Fantasy-Bras-FEMAIL-takes-look-history-world-s-expensive-lingerie.html
- Verbi, J. (2014). « Winged and Rich » (in Russian). Retrieved from: http://lenta.ru/articles/2014/12/03/angelsphenomen/
- Live Show 2014- Etam’s Show on the Fashion Week in Paris (In Russian). (2014). Retrieved from: http://ukrday.com/zhizn/novosti.php?id=116345
- Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. (2014). Retrieved from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victoria%27s_Secret_Fashion_Show