The man who sells candy confections at a small concession stand can not afford to pay for an expensive advertisement. Yet in 2007, such concession stand owners stood to enjoy the benefits of what amounted to a lengthy commercial. That’s because a collection of candy confection lingerie had been displayed on TV. That collection had been included in one of Victoria’s Secret Fashion Shows. That Show was shot by cameras from the CBS Studios. That show aired during prime time, insuring its delivery to a large, wide-eyed audience. Can you picture the interest in a Super Bowl halftime that had received the sponsorship of Victoria’s Secret?
Before the launching of Victoria’s Secret Fashion Shows, one would have had to look long and hard for anyone who was eager to watch an hour long commercial. Now a person who does not leave the room during every commercial is much easier to find. Now, comments made by Jack Sussman, an executive at CBS suggest an increased interest in commercials, or at least in one commercial like production.
Before the airing of the 2007 Fashion Show, as sponsored by Victoria Secret, a reporter talked with Jack Sussman. Sussman’s channel planned to televise the show that Sussman referred to as an “event.” After Sussman described the fashion show as an “event,” the reporter asked if the televised show was not really more like an hour long commercial. Sussman did not seek to counter the reporter’s observation.
Sussman knew that even a published story that compared a Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show to a lengthy commercial would not diminish public interest in the scheduled show. Sussman knew that millions of viewers would tune in for a look at the starring act in that show—the Spice Girls. Sussman could also point to one big difference between the planned Fashion Show and a real TV commercial. Sussman knew that money from ticket sales would benefit a local AIDS related charity – specifically Camp Heartland.
That was the reason that Sussman and other CBS executives had agreed to budget a whopping $10 million for the privilege of airing a one hour Fashion Show. While longer than a super bowl advertisement, each Victoria’s Secret Show comes packed with an eye popping and enticing line up. Both Adriana Lima and Karolina Kurkova, two well known supermodels, had been asked to appear at what Sussman had referred to as an “event.”
Sixteen cameras would focus on those two models, as they strode down the walkway in the Kodak Theater. Another 61 scantily clad, gorgeous women would join them, as they strutted down that walkway. That is not the sort of thing one normally sees in a TV commercial.
Another difference between any of Victoria’s Shows and an everyday TV commercial relates to the selection of a theme. The typical TV commercial does not have a theme, but each Fashion Show sponsored by Victoria’s Secret does have a specific theme. In 2007, that theme was “Sexy Little Things.”
Sussman probably mentioned that theme when he was interviewed about the scheduled airing of the upcoming Show. Sussman would have wanted to guarantee a return on the $10 million investment in the planned Fashion Show. That executive would have certainly realized that a mere suggestion that sexy little things could appear on the small silver screen should fuel sustained interest in any “event” at Kodak Theater.