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Monday, January 14, 2008

What is Sexy?

For the first time since 1999, Victoria's Secret has purchased a 30-second spot, which is slated to run once during the second half of the game. Executives at the Limited Brands unit declined to reveal what was spent on the buy, but Fox has sold spots for as much as $3 million for the Feb. 3 event.

This high-profile move -- last year 92.3 million viewers tuned in -- comes at a time when the iconic retailer is struggling to compete in the crowded lingerie space.

The commercial, which was produced in-house, was initiated about three months ago, Mr. Razek said. He declined to reveal details of the spot, saying only that it features Victoria's Secret Angel Adriana Lima, a football and words that will scroll across the screen. Mr. Razek assuaged any concerns that the ad would be too sexy for network TV, saying that it attempts to strike a balance: not exactly modest but definitely not risqué.

"It will look very different from all of our previous commercials," Ms. Beraud said of the spot. "It's extremely emotional and very flirtatious. It's kind of a wink between men and women."

To coincide with the Super Bowl push, the retailer has also shifted the release of its "What Is Sexy?" list, which used to come out in May. Now the 3-year-old list will be revealed on the eve of the Super Bowl at a party in Scottsdale, Ariz. A one-hour E! special is also slated to run Feb. 9. The special, which will be hosted by Ms. Lima, will feature the "What Is Sexy?" list, as well as video from the Super Bowl party.

Ms. Beraud said she expects that condensing Victoria's Secret's efforts around the Super Bowl will lead to plenty of buzz. Still, it will be difficult to match the retailer's last Super Bowl effort. The $1.6 million 30-second spot promoted a fashion-show webcast that was watched by 1.5 million people, crashing Victoria's Secret's website.

What we really want to know is the truth about Victoria's Secret Angel (professed virgin-until-marriage and Derek Jeter's ex) Adriana Lima, who stars in the spot.

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