As I mentioned in my last post, the brand I have to research and promote in my summative brief is Agent Provocateur. A reoccurring theme at University is me being assigned things I’m clueless about and Agent Provocateur is no exception. Seeing other people get brands such as Cath Kidston, and Vivienne Westwood didn’t make me feel better at all – how was I supposed to create a brand when I’d never even stepped foot in their store let alone their knickers? In my mind AP was just a fancy Ann Summers, and I had no idea how I’d promote their brand in a way that could trump what they’re already doing. Then I saw their actual promotional images, and realised that they knew what they were doing just about as much as I did.
If I were to ask most people to name a lingerie brand they’d probably say Victoria’s Secret; a brand known for it’s lingerie through fashion shows, promotional videos, and models that suit their image posting pics all over Instagram. Unfortunately, Agent Provocateur is not nailing any of these things in my mind.
Agent Provocateur is a British company founded in 1994 by by Joseph Corré and Serena Rees – Viv Westwood’s son and his now ex-wife. They opened their first store in Soho and since then have opened stores in 13 different countries. When researching the brand I noted it was famous for it’s provocative videos. They’ve worked with celebs such as Kylie Minogue (2001), Kate Moss (2006 and 2008), and Maggie Gyllenhaal (2007). More recently models Daisy Lowe and Hailey Clauson have been the face of the brand. Yet despite these big names I was still relatively unaware of the brand.
I think this is one of the brand’s first problems. How you go from Kate Moss to Maggie Gyllenhaal? I’m not quite sure. Kate Moss is undoubtedly a sex symbol, suitable for AP’s risque approach, whereas Maggie Gyllenhaal looks more uncomfortable than sexy. I believe in lingerie empowering women, but Maggie G isn’t wearing the right lingerie for her image to allow her to do this. The brand isn’t sure of what message it’s trying to send and what audience it’s trying to appeal to. The styling is also cliche. Dominatrix black lace, corsets and chunky heels is overdone and boring at this point, and I don’t know how AP thinks it’s going to stay relevant this way.
Agent Provocateur, whilst producing their own barely worth mentioning promotional videos this year, also had their lingerie featured in many of the ‘Love Advent’ videos. This, however, is a step in the right direction for the brand, as nepotism models like Bella Hadid and Hailey Baldwin gain tonnes of media attention, giving the brand new exposure.
Agent Provocateur entered administration in recent years, and it’s not a surprise with the brand being no where near as popular as other lingerie brands such as Victoria’s Secret (compare AP’s 667 thousand followers on Instagram to Victoria’s Secret’s 58.4 million), and seeing as the company had to be sold after Corré and Rees divorced. Since filing for administration Sports Direct owner Mike Ashley purchased the company. It’s clear that whatever approach Ashley has taken isn’t working for me.
After looking into the brand, and ultimately not liking what I see, I’m excited to write my own marketing ideas for the brand. I love women feeling powerful, even if they’re only in their (very expensive) knickers. A brand that empowers women should be putting out better advertising campaigns than Agent Provocateur currently are, and hopefully they start to make advances in 2018.
Until next time,
Images sourced from Agent Provocateur and Love magazine