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December 17, 2010

Debunking the AFA's Naughty or Nice List: Limited Brands

We're still working on disproving the American Family Association's "Naughty or Nice" list of retailers this year... We've already shown why Victoria's Secret does not belong on the red "Naughty" list.

Now we're going to address the fact that VS's parent company Limited Brands and the Limited Brands-owned Bath & Body Works are on the yellow list. It's ridiculous enough to include 3 related retailers as completely separate entities - but how can one company be be both 'anti-Christmas' and 'Christmas-neutral' at the same time? (Henri Bendel and La Senza, also owned by Limited Brands, were both excluded from the lists entirely.)

  • Bath & Body Works
We could only find one instance of the word 'Christmas' on the Bath & Body Works website and it was related to guaranteed Christmas Delivery:

However, the Shipping page refers to "Holiday delivery" and does not use the C-word.

They repeatedly use the term 'Holiday' instead of 'Christmas'... The closest they come to Christmas is 'Noel'...

Let's look again at the AFA's criteria:
If a company's ad has references to items associated with Christmas (trees, wreaths, lights, etc.), it was considered as an attempt to reach "Christmas" shoppers. If a company has items associated with Christmas, but did not use the word "Christmas," then the company is considered as censoring "Christmas."
Their site sure does look Christmassy, doesn't it?

It's a little confusing that this store - with its limited use of the word 'Christmas' - is in yellow, yet sister company Victoria's Secret can put 'Christmas' all over it's site and they're stuck on the red Naughty list. Why??

**Note we feel it's important to point out that we in NO way think that Bath & Body Works is wrong for using the word 'Holiday' in lieu of 'Christmas' or for using Christmas-imagery. We just think it's a little hypocritical to hold one company to a higher standard than another... and we think the AFA needs to brush up on their fact-checking skills.**

Henri Bendel

This store didn't make the AFA's list at all... We were unable to find a single instance of the word 'Christmas' on their site or its advertising. (We didn't see much red-and-green Christmas imagery either.)

La Senza

They mention 'Christmas' in regards to their shipping policies and there was a 'Holiday' section with red and green bras and panties (plus a "Santa skirt")... but we didn't see the word 'Christmas' elsewhere. A search for 'Christmas' did not match any products.

So let's recap...
  • Victoria's Secret: Lots of use of the word 'Christmas'. On the Red (Naughty) list.
  • Bath & Body Works: Almost no use of the word 'Christmas'. On the Yellow (Neutral) list.
  • Henri Bendel and  La Senza: Almost no use of the word 'Christmas'. Not on any of the lists.
  • Limited Brands: Almost no use of the word 'Christmas' on their corporate website. On the Yellow (Neutral) list.
So 3 out of 4 of their brands only use the word 'Christmas' sparingly, which is part of the AFA's criteria for making the Red (Naughty) list. However, the company that owns those 3 brands is on the Yellow (Neutral) list? And their one lone brand that does mention 'Christmas' repeatedly... is on the Red (Naughty) list. WTF AFA? (Again, let's be clear that we don't think it's bad or 'naughty' to refrain from using the word 'Christmas' or to use the more inclusive 'Holiday'... we're just following the AFA's messed up logic.)

At first we thought that maybe the AFA had confused Limited Brands with The Limited stores, which are no longer owned by Limited Brands. (They are now wholly owned by Sun Capital Partners Inc.) But their website doesn't use the word 'Christmas' either...

So AFA, what's your excuse for being completely arbitrary and inaccurate??? Just too lazy to research the list? Or do you just really hate Victoria's Secret that much?

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