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Victoria's Secret Pink Goes to College

Pink gets gritty

Victoria's Secret partnered with 33 universities to launch Pink's Collegiate Collection: a series of shirts, accessories and sports gear cross-branded with names, colors and mascots from 33 universities. Participating schools include University of Texas, UC Berkeley and Boston College.

The Collegiate Collection will be promoted with college-age brand ambassadors and a back-to-school program, which launches July 17 after an event called "Pinkapalooza" in Santa Monica. 15,000 people are expected to attend.

Brand evangelists will spend fall term passing out bins for used clothing, part of an eco-friendly program called Recycle Your Sweats. The students will also take "business trips" to build brand awareness at college football games.

Macy's conducted a similar campaign for its American Rag brand last year. Nonetheless, Advertising Age dubbed it Victoria Secret's "most comprehensive [launch] yet."

Victoria's Secret could use the boost. For lack of more lucrative options, the company is riding its four-year-old Pink label hard: In 2007, Pink accounted for 17 percent of total retail sales. Six dedicated Pink stores are open; more will follow.

But Pink will soon have copycats to deal with. Abercrombie & Fitch recently announced the debut of Gilly Hicks Sydney, a rival panty and sleepwear store for teens and young adults.

Observing that young, college-age women increasingly wear loungewear outside the home, chief analyst Marshal Cohen of NPD Group commented, "It's amazing how casual we've gotten. This retail segment could get very competitive."


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