Since its launch in 2013, ThirdLove has steadily built its brand on the back of social media and digital ads. Now, the lingerie upstart is taking on Victoria’s Secret head on.
The direct-to-consumer brand is rolling out its first national TV campaign ever, consisting of 18 ads — nine 30-second ads and nine 15s. It rolls out nationally today.
“The way lingerie ads are produced shot and run in an overly sexualized way hasn’t changed much over the past 20 years,” ThirdLove’s co-founder Heidi Zak told Business Insider. “But we’re not selling sex, we’re selling product, comfort, and functionality to the modern woman.”
The videos have a decidedly anti-Victoria’s Secret stance, emphasizing the brand’s products through a variety of customer testimonials and Zak’s own founding story rather than models prancing about in their lingerie. In fact, the production team, director, and crew behind the ads – down to the caterer – were all women, according to Zak.
“We wanted to challenge convention and break out of the male gaze that lingerie ads are typically modeled on,” said Zak. “Our tone is realistic and relatable.”
ThirdLove is among a legion of disruptive direct-to-consumer lingerie brands — including Lively, Naja, Negative and True & Co. — that have emerged on the playing field in recent years to challenge Victoria’s Secret’s dominance. They have wooed consumers with inclusive, body positive messaging as well as a broader range of shapes and sizes.
ThirdLove specifically has revolutionized how women shop for bras with Fit Finder, its own online fitting quiz. It combines data, insights and qualitative customer feedback with machine learning, giving customers a highly personalized fit experience, even going in half sizes for bra cups.
The brand has surely been on the upward trajectory, while Victoria’s Secret starts to bleed out. Sales for the behemoth decreased 13% in March year-over-year, while ThirdLove’s sales within the first four months of 2017 exceeded total sales from all of 2016, said Zak. She declined to give specifics.
Still, the brand needed to expand its reach and boost its existing consumer base, which is why it decided to capitalize on the momentum and go down the traditional TV route.
“90% of our marketing until now has been digital and social,” said Zak. “But we’re at a point where to grow our brand and reach, it’s important for us to diversify through other mediums.”