Victoria's Secret debuts inclusive, digital-only 'Happy Nation' tween brand

2022/04/20 Innoverview Read

Dive Brief:

  • Victoria's Secret on Tuesday launched Happy Nation, a sub-brand aimed at tweens sold online only. The line was first announced during the company's fourth quarter earnings presentation.

  • Happy Nation is designed for young people ages 8-13 "and offers a size-inclusive and gender-free product assortment of sweats, swim, bras, undies and family friendly body care," per a company press release. 

  • The brand isn't found in stores, at least for now, but is sold through a dedicated website, marketed via social media and is to be activated in the metaverse, a first for the lingerie giant.

Dive Insight:

Victoria's Secret's rehabilitation continues with this wholesome brand for pre-teens. Addressing this audience would probably have been difficult in the retailer's angels-dominated era, when its marketing focused on the male gaze.

The company said it sought advice from internal and outside experts "to ensure everything from its creative, to photography and social media communications foster a safe, inclusive and supportive environment," and said that many people involved are parents of children in this age group.

Taking over for Victoria's Secret's angels these days is a cadre of outspoken female athletes and activists. Its vocabulary has also changed. In its release announcing Happy Nation, for example, the company said the assortment includes "judgment-free products for tweens that are accepting, inclusive and supportive" and called the launch "another celebratory milestone in the company's continued transformation journey and evolution, which at its core has been focused on listening to and being inspired by the real needs of consumers."

Happy Nation could be a risk to the company's Pink brand, also aimed at a younger customer, which has a more established record of inclusivity and comfort. Pink just introduced its first male celebrity brand ambassador to represent its gender-free assortment. But the new brand is also a challenge to American Eagle's successful Aerie brand, Jane Hali analysts said last month.

While Victoria's Secret's shift has traction, it's hardly complete. Hali analysts last month also noted that much of its offer remains highly sexualized. And UBS analysts led by Jay Sole this week said its marketing could be more effective and personalized.

Still, UBS concluded that its "message has evolved," noting that the company employs "a more broad and inclusive definition of sexy," offers a broader size range and presents mannequins reflecting more body types.

"Victoria's Secret has made a break from its past," Sole said.

(Source: RetailDive Victoria's Secret debuts inclusive, digital-only 'Happy Nation' tween brand | Retail Dive)