Both Victoria's Secret and The Gap Body market to young women, ranging from college age through about the 30s. Both outlets seek to sell underwear to women. The Gap Body is a more comprehensive operation, in that it markets complete lines of clothing, including outwear. The similarities, however, end there. Victoria’s Secret is in the business of selling sex. Whereas The Gap Body markets bras and panties, along with sleepwear designed to appeal to younger females, Victoria’s Secret is all about marketing sexually explicit undergarments and lingerie. Its models are just that – models – who represent the “ideal” female form. While The Gap Body’s models are certainly physically attractive, they represent a more realistic vision of femininity than the supermodels who grace the pages of Victoria’s Secret catalogues. The Gap Body is content to simply display its bras and panties on the bodies of attractive models, with accompanying text limited to simple descriptions. This, however, is how Victoria’s Secret displays its merchandise: Supermodels posed seductively in the merchandise with descriptions like those quoted below for bras:
“Very Sexy: For the sexiest shape imaginable with lift and cleavage beyond compare”;
“Dream Angels: Life’s sweeter with a little romance in the mix.”
The Gap is a popular chain that markets to both genders, with an emphasis on the younger consumers, generally from high school through the 20s. Its advertisements often feature groups of individuals in the desired demographic interacting while highlighting the merchandise. Victoria’s Secret markets solely to women, but with an eye to the interaction of the genders. Both have well-established markets, and both have demonstrated a marked ability to cater to those markets. Youth and beauty are the common demoninators.