George Vincent


We all see them all the time, those beautiful models dressed in nothing but underwear draped over couches or wearing angel’s wings or standing on circular stairs in seductive poses. By now almost anyone who has watched TV or read a magazine within the last year or so knows exactly what I’m talking about, those provocative, seductive, Victoria’s Secret ads. These ads show some of the most beautiful women in the world in nothing but lingerie and underwear. Victoria’s Secret has turned into a household name and everyone in America has seen the ads or been in the stores. Victoria Secret catalogs have become almost like a pornographic magazine instead of an underwear catalog. Why has Victoria Secret become so popular? Why are people so compelled to buy Victoria Secret products?

The reason Victoria Secret products have become the “essential” as far as underwear is concerned is because the ad campaigns by Victoria Secret represent a fantasy that every woman in the world wants to fulfill. Women think that if they wear Victoria Secret underwear they will be just as desirable as the models in the ads. Women want to be like these models because they see the way that men react to the ads and want men to react like that to them. “ Much of the erotic kick comes from the breaking of social boundaries, real or pretended”(Barthel, 77). Women feel as sense of eroticism that is associated with Victoria Secret products, because men see the Victoria Secret models as erotic and sexy, they see the products as erotic and sexy. Women wear Victoria Secret because they subconsciously think that wearing the product will help them look like those models. Every ad that Victoria Secret has features some sort of scene that subconsciously represents an aspect of a woman’s life. “Exotic settings promise sensual delights forbidden in mainstream Western society”(Barthel, 80). Through the use of certain visual imagery Victoria Secret creates a promise of something that every woman in today’s society wants. One ad specifically showed certain visual images that involved the models with visual imagery. This ad provides women with images such as; a spiral staircase, fountains, angel wings, low and distorted background lighting, and office and household furniture. The spiral staircase may represent a step up on your love life, the fountain as purity and youth, while the angel wings representing strength and comfort. The lighting just added a more seductive view of the models. “In most advertisements reason is downplayed. The choice is not among products but among images, hence, all the soft-focus, visually stunning, happy days and sexy nights”(Barthel, 84).

These images aren’t something that we see if we look directly at the ad, but they do appear to us after these images are exposed. The reason that men find these ads so tempting is because although these ads are just showing underwear, to men they are trying to sell sex. Men see these models in underwear and immediately think sex. However, this isn’t just our sex obsessed brains. Ad campaigns are actually aimed to promote sex to men, especially Victoria Secret ads. The Victoria Secret Ads just demonstrate how much sex plays a role in style and buying appeal. If we just saw a pair of underwear in an ad without a beautiful model, Victoria Secret would probably not be the household name it is today. It’s not the unique style or nice material that sells underwear for Victoria Secret it’s those beautiful models in the ads. It’s because of those beautiful models that men find Victoria Secret appealing, and it’s because of men’s appeal that women buy Victoria Secret underwear. Victoria Secret is not selling a product they are selling an image, the reason their image sells, is because their image is sex, and in our society, sex sells.
Why do women buy into these ads if they know what they are all about? Women are looking for a fairytale, a chance that one-day if they do dress like these women a man will come into their life and sweep them off their feet. In all advertising “the girl herself is meant to live as in a fairy-tale stupor”(Barthel, 75). There have been trends in some advertising to move away from this