Fact Check

Victoria's Secret -- Bright Young Things

Did Victoria's Secret announce plans to market a line of provocative lingerie to teenage girls?

Published March 27, 2013


Claim:   Victoria's Secret introduced a line of provocative lingerie for teenage girls.


Example:   [Collected via e-mail, March 2013]

Is Victoria Secret coming out with a line for middle school children? The comment I saw said: The line will be called "Bright
Young Things" and will feature lace cheeksters with the word "Wild" emblazoned on them; green and white polka-dot hipsters screen printed with "Feeling Lucky?" and a lace trim thong with the words "Call me" on the front.


Origins:   The controversy which flared up in March 2013 over Victoria's Secret's supposedly marketing a line of provocative lingerie to teenage girls stemmed from comments reportedly made a few months earlier by Stuart Burgdoerfer, the CFO of Victoria's Secret's corporate parent, suggesting that the company's popular Pink line was intended to appeal to teenage girls as well as the college crowd:

At a conference in January [2013] Limited Brands' Chief Financial Officer Stuart Burgdoerfer confirmed Victoria's Secret's plans. "When somebody's 15 or 16 years old, what do they want to be?" Burgdoerfer asked. "They want to be older, and they want to be cool like the girl in college, and that's part of the magic of what we do at Pink."

Now, Victoria's Secret's Pink line is selling its spring break line with the slogan "Bright Young Things," which you'll find emblazoned across the website next to a lanky model posing provocatively in a bikini top and those slouchy sweat pants that have become wildly popular with 16-year-old girls. Victoria's Secret's models are often voluptuous and curvy but this one has a youthful skinny figure. In the spring line, you'll find an array of panties, from lace back cheeksters with the word "Wild" on the back, to a lace trim thong with "Call Me" on the front, to green-and-white polka-dot hipsters reading "Feeling Lucky?"

Accounts like these led to the conflation of several different concepts into the single somewhat muddled claim that Victoria's Secret was introoducing a line of lingerie for teenaged girls called "Bright Young Things." Victoria's Secret maintained
on their Facebook page that "Bright Young Things" was just a spring break-themed promotional slogan for their PINK line of products and not a separate collection created for teenage girls:

In response to questions we recently received, Victoria’s Secret PINK is a brand for college-aged women. Despite recent rumors, we have no plans to introduce a collection for younger women. “Bright Young Things” was a slogan used in conjunction with the college spring break tradition.

However, Burgdoerfer's comments suggested that the Victoria's Sectet PINK line was indeed intended to appeal to teenage girls (even if not explicitly marketed as such), and back in 2002 news accounts noted that the soon-to-be-introduced PINK line had been announced by Victoria's Secret as a "lingerie line for the 15- to 22-year-old market." Critics have contended that whatever Victoria's Secret may claim as the targeted age range for their PINK line, their promotional efforts are intended to appeal to — and many of their customers are — younger girls:

Every year Victoria's Secret hosts a fashion show to unveil its upcoming line of padded push-up bras that miraculously make breasts look bigger and lacy panties that magically make derrieres look prettier.

In the past, the Limited Brands Retailer's show featured guest headliners such as Marc Anthony, Sting and Ricky Martin, performers who appealed to an older,

more mature audience.

Last winter, the lingerie company put teen idol Justin Bieber on the stage as models wearing the colorful Pink line cotton panties and bras
strutted across the stage.

The point? To market the popular Pink line initially launched for college students to an even younger audience — teenagers.

Retailers are taking care to present the garments as cute vs. sexy, says Marcie Merriman, founder of consultancy PrimalGrowth. Still, the reality is that stores are “all going to say they’re targeting 18- to 22-year-olds, but the reality is you’re going to get the younger customer,” says Merriman.

The specific products described above ('lace cheeksters with the word "Wild" emblazoned on them; green and white polka-dot hipsters screen printed with "Feeling Lucky?" and a lace trim thong with the words "Call me" on the front') were listed on the Victoria's Secret web site under the PINK line, but after reports about those products generated negative publicity, Victoria's Secret pulled the links to these items from their web site. Pictures of the originals can still be viewed online, however:

Last updated:   25 March 2013


    Maheshwari, Sapna.   "Forget Training Bras. Girls Are Buying Lingerie."

    Businessweek   28 February 2013.

    Rozhon, Traciea.   "A Lingerie Maker Returns to Its Racier Past."

    The New York Times   25 October 2002.

    Weber, Jill.   "Sexy Teen Lingerie Sends All the Wrong Messages."

    USA Today   12 March 2013.

    San Francisco Chronicle..   "Victoria's Secret Goes After Teen Market."

    25 March 2013.

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.

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