Victoria's Secret 'Bright Young Things' line angers parents

Some parents want to boycott the brand because they think its new lingerie line targets tween girls.

Victoria's Secret is taking a lot of heat for three little words.

A new "Bright Young Things" spring break campaign for the company's popular PINK college lingerie line has some parents up in arms because they think the company is now targeting tweens.

Victoria Secret's Facebook page was slammed with comments over the last few days from people boycotting the brand, saying slogans such as "Feeling lucky" and "Call me" on the underwear have crossed the line.

The company explained through a statement Monday on Facebook that despite recent rumors, Victoria's Secret had no plans to introduce a collection for pre-college women, but not before angry parents launched an online campaign and a Facebook page asking Victoria's Secret to pull the Bright Young Things line from the shelves.

"In response to questions we recently received, Victoria's Secret PINK is a brand for college-aged women," Victoria's Secret said. '"Bright Young Things' was a slogan used in conjunction with the college spring break tradition."

But concerned parents point to a comment made by Stuart Burgdoerfer, the chief financial officer and executive vice president of Victoria's Secret parent company Limited Brands, which they said insinuated that the line had in fact been created for younger consumers.

"When somebody's 15 or 16 years old, what do they want to be? 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," Burgdoerfer was quoted as saying.

Evan Dolive, father of a 3-year-old, wrote an open letter to Victoria's Secret on his blog, saying the Bright Young Things line sent a wrong message to all young girls.

"I don't want my daughter to ever think that her self-worth and acceptance by others is based on the choice of her undergarments," Dolive wrote. "I don't want my daughter to ever think that to be popular or even attractive she has to have emblazon words on her bottom."

Diana Cherry, a Seattle mom of four who started the online petition against Victoria's Secret, wrote:

"I don't want a brand like Victoria's Secret telling my daughters what sexy should be and my son that girls have to look or dress a certain way. Sexualization of girls by marketers has been found to contribute to depression, eating disorders, and early sexual activity — and this new ad campaign is a glaring example of a culture forcing girls to grow up too fast."

Others pooh-poohed the outrage, saying parents were overreacting and that Victoria's Secret has always carried lingerie with provocative slogans.

Retail analyst Hitha Prabhakar told MSN News that Victoria's Secret and its PINK line had always tried to capture the tween to teen demographic, which she said accounts for half-a-trillion dollar industry.

"It's a demographic coveted by every retailer — Abercrombie & Fitch has gone after it, American Eagle has gone after it, Victoria's Secret is another retailer trying to go after it," she said. "Victoria's Secret has seen positive revenues over the last couple of quarters and they want to keep moving forward. They want to see their products flying off the shelf."

Prabhakar said that it was unlikely the controversy would make Victoria's Secret pull the "Bright Young Things" line.

"Even with controversy, brands want people to talk about the brands," she said. "This adds to the desirability of the products. As a parent if you tell your teen you can't have something that will drive the product event more. Teenagers will want to come to the mall specifically to check it out — that's what teenagers do. As the Victoria's Secret CFO said, young girls aspire to be like older girls. In the end, Victoria's Secret is just making sure that their profit keep flowing."

Elaine Lucier, a junior at C.K. McClatchy High School in Sacramento, Calif., said that she and her friends had been buying products from Victoria's Secret since they were thirteen.

"Even before this new line came out, my friends and I would go to Victoria's Secret to get stuff when we visited the mall," she said. "It was on our top-three list."

"Personally I think some of their slogans look silly and would never buy them, but that's up to the discretion of the consumer," she added. "If I go shopping with my mom and she says that something is not really appropriate, then that opens up a line of communication. It's not the responsibility of the brand to censor what they put on their products, it’s more of a personal choice."

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