ThirdLove Publishes a Scathing Open Letter to Victoria’s Secret in a New York Times Ad
Start-up called out CMO Ed Razek’s recent controversial comments

Razek appeared to made a not-so-subtle knock at ThirdLove, one of Victoria’s Secret’s buzziest competitors.
Victoria’s Secret’s longtime CMO, Ed Razek—known to many as the man at the helm of the brand’s annual fashion show—remains in hot water since earlier this month, following comments he made about transgender and plus-size models in a Vogue interview.

“You market to men and sell a male fantasy to women,” wrote Zak. “But at ThirdLove, we think beyond, as you said, a ’42-minute entertainment special.’ Your show may be a ‘fantasy,’ but we live in reality. Our reality is that women wear bras in real life as they go to work, breastfeed their children, play sports, care for ailing parents and serve their country.”

ThirdLove is hardly the only new lingerie business that has popped up in the market over the past few years. The vast majority of these brands—like Lively and Rihanna’s Savage x Fenty line—have focused on a women-first ethos and size inclusivity. Zak also called out this difference between the brands, criticizing Victoria’s Secret for perpetuating “outdated ideas of femininity and gender roles.”

“ThirdLove is the antithesis of Victoria’s Secret,” she wrote. “We believe the future is building a brand for every woman, regardless of her shape, size, age, ethnicity, gender identity or sexual orientation. This shouldn’t be seen as groundbreaking, it should be the norm.”

Zak continued: “It’s time to stop telling women what makes them sexy—let us decide. We’re done with pretending certain sizes don’t exist or aren’t important enough to serve. And please stop insisting that inclusivity is a trend.”

Razek has since apologized for his remarks. Last week, it was announced that Victoria’s Secret’s CEO, Jan Singer, is leaving the company.


What Every Brand Should Know (and Do) About the Evils of the Internet

The Internet’s early days were rife with talk of utopian democracy finally triumphing through technology. Now, instead, we have America’s decimated news organizations begging Congress for help to defend journalism from two Internet monopolies.

The News Media Alliance, representing some 2,000 news companies, said earlier this month, “Google and Facebook dominate online news traffic and consume the bulk of digital ad revenue.” The duopoly has “commoditized the news and given rise to fake news,” the news group said. The news organizations want an exception from the antitrust laws so they can negotiate as an industry against the online behemoths.

There’s no disputing the facts: Fully 60% of all online ad revenue now goes to Facebook and Google; their share of total ad dollars is growing rapidly. More importantly, the buk of the money to finance fake news and crush real news comes from the digital ad buys of America’s brands.

Economists in the U.S. and Europe who study the Internet’s workings have warned that Google and Facebook are so dominant that it’s now impossible to compete with them. Other potential online monopolies are gathering momentum.

This has a lot of people in media asking, “How did we get here?” This certainly was not the Internet-transformed world most people envisioned — a world where the little guys got a better break.

“Hyperlinks subvert hierarchy,” trumpeted “The Cluetrain Manifesto,” 1999’s declaration of the coming Internet-driven revolution. Cluetrain was just one of a thousand voices proclaiming that power would be universally shared among “the people” in a networked world.

This belief about equality and the web rose with the advent of social media beginning in 2006. Social would give everyone the power to be “a global publisher.” Money wouldn’t matter since publishing would be virtually free. Big corporations would lose their grip on everyday people. Freedom would ring across the net. By 2012, the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff was crediting widespread revolution in the Middle East to “Facebook and social networking….”

Flash forward to the present, however, and the utopians can be seen shaking their heads disbelievingly at what the World Wide Web has wrought. I should know; I’m one of them. Instead of utopia, we have fake news. In place of perfected democracy, we have autocrats and skinheads meddling in democratic elections. In place of personal empowerment, we have surveillance by the NSA and others. Countering dreams of increased economic opportunity, we have more monopoly.

While the web does confer vastly more connections and publishing power on individuals, as predicted, it also turns out the Internet’s “network effects” favor and promote winner-take-all monopolies. Dreams of a web-based utopia have disappeared beneath the reality of web-based monopolies like Google, Facebook and, coming up fast, Amazon, Airbnb, Uber and others.

The irony, of course, is that democracy and journalism are just collateral damage in this networked drama. The power of Google and Facebook depends completely on the billions spent by brand advertisers and it’s the advertisers who are bound to suffer increasingly as the monopoly power of this pair inevitably leads to higher prices and ever-greater control of the web.

While the news industry begs for mercy, it’s high time for the ad industry to rise up and demand a more equitable marketplace online. My bet is that adland’s push back must be now or it’s likely to be never.


How to Avoid Content Shock With Your Personal Video Content

Several years back, Mark Schaefer coined the term “Content Shock” to describe the virtual tsunami of content people fight their way through daily. Since then, the tide has only risen. But smart individuals and companies have learned to create new types of content, unrivaled in their industry. (For tips on doing this, check out The Content Code: Six Essential Strategies to Ignite Your Content, Your Marketing, and Your Business.)

Many businesses have started experimenting, launching podcasts, punching up their trade show presence with interactive experiences, and incorporating video into their content mix.

There are plenty of smart people encouraging marketers to adopt video: Chris Brogan has repeatedly urged people to get past their insecurities about age or appearance and start going on camera. In fact, he’s been pushing people to use video for years.

Brian Fanzo speaks all over the world about video and live streaming, urging people to “press the damn button!” And it seems they’re listening — A recent study on marketing trends shows that nearly half of survey respondents have started using video just in the past year. The survey goes so far as to call video the #1 marketing trend for holiday marketing.

What this means is that we’re about to experience a whole new wave of content shock, and your personal video content need to stand out from the rest.

Here are some tips for creating personal video content that’s worthy of your audience’s attention.

Tell the story only you can tell.

Mark Schaefer gave me this advice on writing nearly five years ago:

“I want to challenge you to write a post that ONLY you can write. You have to dig down and bring your heart into it. Your posts don’t have a heartbeat.”

Ouch. I mean, OUCH.

But Mark was right. I followed his advice and wrote a highly personal post on the dark side of social networking. It’s one of my top posts of all-time.

You need to take this approach with all your personal video content. Tell the story only you can tell. Be uniquely you.

If all of your videos are highly produced, heavily sanitized versions of your brand story, people will look elsewhere. Infuse your stories (video and other media) with heart, and watch what happens.

Get right to the good stuff.

You have 10 seconds or less to earn your audience’s attention or they’ll click away from your video.

Don’t bury the lede. Don’t think people will hang in there with you while you ramp up to the good stuff halfway through. There is so much content out there—patience is at an all-time low.

Notice I didn’t say attention is at an all-time low. That’s because if your content is relevant and entertaining, people will absolutely want it.

But how will they know your video content gets good if you spend the first few minutes circling your main point? Don’t wait—get to the good stuff right away.

Become a favorite content creator.

Half of 18- to 34-year old YouTube subscribers would drop what they’re doing to watch a new video by their favorite creator. Do what you can to earn “favorite creator” status with your audience. Deliver relevant, valuable, entertaining content, and keep on delivering.

When’s the last time you dropped what you were doing to watch an ad? You’ve probably never done that. But I’ve let pasta boil over on the stove so I could watch a new “Bad Lip Reading” video. (It was this one: Hostiles on the Hill.)

Learn something about production.

You don’t have to become Francis Ford Coppola to create quality video content, but you do need to think about things like audio quality and lighting.

Brian Fanzo has helpfully shared details on all the equipment he uses. Chris Brogan has been very open about his learning process. Video blogger Steve Garfield wrote a fantastic book that’s valuable for anyone looking to “get seen.”

There’s no shortage of helpful information out there, so study up and get started!

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