28 Sep 10

Tuesday’s Topic: Does a Victoria’s Secret Bag Make You Feel Sexy?

Posted by

Study: Victoria’s Secret Bags Have Sexy Side Effect

By Paul Kix

(Sept. 23) — Transporting thongs and push-up bras isn’t the only purpose for a Victoria’s Secret shopping bag. Some women turn theirs into a purse. Others store their lunch in them. And now new research hints at a universal rationale for the bags’ second lives as accessories. Women feel sexy simply holding it.

The study, to be published in December, is the work of Deborah Roedder John, a professor of marketing at the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management. In one of four experiments, John and a colleague approached 85 women in a mall, asked them to fill out a survey — embedded in which were questions about their self-perception — then gave the women one of two shopping bags to walk around with for an hour. One of the bags was from Victoria’s Secret. The women in that group reported to the researchers that they felt more sensual and glamorous simply for the carrying.

Women walk past a Victoria’s Secret store on Lexington Avenue in New York.

Brands can influence people in other ways as well. The study also notes the curious case of some M.B.A. students asked to take notes for six weeks using a pen embossed with the MIT logo. Those who did reported feeling smarter at the end of the term. “Many people are surprisingly receptive to brands,” John tells AOL News.

Many, but not all, it turns out. The literature in which John bases her own study shows that the world is divided into two kinds of people, who, despite such a grand distinction, are labeled with small and opaque terms.

Specifically, people are either “entity theorists” or “incremental theorists.” Entity theorists believe no action of their own can change who they are. They know their failings and their limitations. Incremental theorists see no limits to what they might accomplish, see no end to how they might improve themselves.

For a long time, these terms have been used in psychology, as a way to explain why, say, some kids succeed in school and others fail. John became aware of the terms as she herself tried to understand her own children’s educational successes and failures. She thought maybe they could apply to marketing.

It turns out that entity theorists — the ones aware of their own limits — are also the ones most susceptible to feeling sexier carrying a Victoria’s Secret shopping bag or smarter holding an MIT pen. And yet that seems antithetical to their worldview, no? After all, if they’re bound by their limitations, why should these people believe anything can influence them? Well, although they’ve given up on what they alone can achieve, they haven’t given up on what an outside agent — say, a multinational corporation selling sexiness — can bring to them.

In other words, entity theorists believe their attitudes can change as long as they’re not the ones doing it. “They need a crutch,” John explains.

John believes that in spite of the taxonomy’s rigidity, most people are probably a mixture of entity and incremental theorists. She envisions a future for advertising that slices itself into ever finer niches to appeal to our disparate mind-sets. For the incrementalists, maybe Victoria’s Secret pushes makeup kits, so that a woman is in charge of how beautiful she becomes. For the entity theorists, well, there are those racy TV ads, which we know have a way of transferring their mojo to a plain paper bag.


  • What do you think?

About Jennifer Kelton

Jennifer KeltonI did not wake up one morning and say “hey I think I’d like a man use my sweater like a towel, write a candid dating book, become a dating expert, the CEO and founder of a social dating site and have three blogs.”

All of this has happened in a slow burn and here I am. The good, the bad, the mistakes, way too many tears shed to count, lots of wine and oh my goodness a huge learning curve that leaves me much of the time saying, “I’m sorry but this is all new to me.”

In need of a
cyber fortune?

Follow us on Twitter and Tweet #BODFortune to receive a personal DM message of hope, joy and wisdom.

  • BOD Dating App — Alpha Launch 10/15/15

    Mobile dating is about to be changed forever. Are you ready to be a part of the revolution? Coming soon: BadOnlineDates.com will transform the dating space as we know it with the brand new BOD app that redesigns the concept of dating. You know that tingling sensation you feel when you discover an amazing new […]

  • Dress for the Date Announces #DressMonday

    #DressMonday I don’t know about you but I wake up on Monday and know that I’ll be at my desk putting out fires and then at some point having to put my “man pants on and be the “CEO”. Many of us work in masculine industries or the gender-neutral tech space, where it’s easy to […]

  • Shit Cougars Say – Part 2 (Aka Single Older Women)

    Related posts: Bad Date TV: Bad Date Ben – Honestly Ben (What A Douchebag!) Bad Date TV Starring Bad Date Ben – Mom I’d Like to Blank! Bad Date TV: Bad Date Betty and the Blinged Out Bear Bad Date TV: Bad Date Ben – Dating While Pregnant Bad Date TV: Bad Date Betty – […]

  • BADONLINEDATES.COM CELEBRATES It’s Sixth Year Online and Dress for the Date

    Founder/CEO Jennifer Kelton Looks Back on 6 Years of Success With BadOnlineDates.com While Looking Ahead to Her Latest Venture, DressForTheDate.com LOS ANGELES, CA (October 2, 2013) – The website that pioneered the social sharing of bad dating experiences and advice, BadOnlineDates.com, celebrates it’s 6th year anniversary on October 18, 2013. Jennifer Kelton founded the site […]

  • Dress for the Date Interview With Ryan Seacrest (Kiss FM 102.7)

    Listen Here 102.7 KissFM On Air With Ryan Seacrest Related posts: [Press Release] Nationally Recognized Date Stylist Offers Free Service for One Lucky Candidate DressfortheDate.com Offers Fashion Advice for Dating Success Announcing Dress for the Date’s ‘Dress to Impress’ Giveaway