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Victoria’s Secret accused of targeting teens in new campaign

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NEW YORK (CNNMoney)
By Emily Jane Fox @CNNMoney March 27, 2013: 12:50 PM ET

Victoria’s Secret is known for its racy marketing, but some parents are saying the company went too far with its line geared toward teens and ‘tweens.

The popular lingerie brand was advertising items in its PINK line, which is geared toward younger women, with the slogan “Bright Young Things.” The campaign featured underwear printed with phrases like “call me,” “feeling lucky” and “wild.” A 16-second YouTube video featured young-looking models splashing around in skimpy bikinis with the tagline “new spring break must-haves.”

┬áThousands of parents took to social media and online petitions to complain that the line was targeted at ‘tween and teen girls.

Diana Cherry, a Seattle mother of three young daughters and a son, got nearly 4,000 supporters to sign her change.org petition that called the underwear “a glaring example of a culture forcing girls to grow up too fast.”

Commenters on the Victoria Secret Facebook page said the campaign was “disgusting” and “sexually [exploited] teenagers.” Many called on shoppers to boycott stores.

Related: Lingerie ad too sexy for teens?

The suggestive underthings were taken out of stores and off the website on Monday. The company brought in new merchandise for spring and summer.

A spokesperson for Victoria’s Secret, which is owned by Limited Brands (LTD, Fortune 500), said that the “Bright Young Things” slogan was used as part of the college spring break tradition, and that PINK is a brand for college-aged women.

Victoria’s Secret has printed panties with similar phrases before, a fact that some people who weren’t as offended by the campaign pointed out.

“This is the same sort of thing found on their college-aged targeted line…for a long time now,” commenter Jay Gray wrote on Facebook. “Why is it all of a sudden an issue?”

Related: Toy makers redefine ‘girl’ toys

Some said that the responsibility and blame lies with parents who allow their daughters to buy the items — not with Victoria’s Secret.

“That’s like boycotting ice cream because it made you fat, but you were the one that consumed it,” Amanda St Clair wrote. “Parents, if you don’t like it, don’t let your kids wear it.” To top of page