Have Victoria’s Secret changed their marketing formula?

Victoria’s Secret catalogues have changed over time. Changed, a lot. In fact they went from soft and erotic-looking in the 1970s to a modern day production-line of unrealistic perfection. If we were to get scientific about it and lay out the last 10 catalogues in front of you, unlabelled, odds are you wouldn’t be able to distinguish one from another.

But when you have a formula that works, sometimes its not worth deviating (just ask Coca-Cola, speaking of blind tests). Victoria’s Secret’s formula of impossibly fit, well proportioned, and generally enviable-looking women posing seductively (or sweetly, depending on the product sub-line) works for them without fail. But while changing a formula completely isn’t always a good idea, making a few tweaks to improve it can be worth the risk. Having hit us in the face far too often with over-the-top (and completely unnecessary) photoshopping, have Victoria’s Secret finally tweaked their formula to embrace a little bit of realism?

We noticed it with Barbara Palvin for their Designer range, and now in the brand’s July 2012 look book. Sure, the models are still unattainably perfect by most standards, but there’s at least a bit of natural light, some skin tone, some softness to the images.

If there was a lesson to be learned about making your photoshopping too obvious (the lesson being that the consumer relates better to models who don’t look like they’re made out of wax) then we hope Victoria’s Secret have finally learned it.

victorias secret photoshopping
An over-airbrushed Lindsay Ellingson in a 2011 Victoria’s Secret look book; Erin Heatherton looking more natural for Victoria’s Secret July 2012

Starring Doutzen Kroes and Erin Heatherton, you can view more of Victoria’s Secret‘s July 2012 look book at the gallery above.