Work of the Week: My Malaya

PBB has noticed that leading lingerie brands and the women’s lingerie category has become a bit repetitive and predictable in the last few years. We wanted to work with a lingerie brand and establish a new visual identity that combined a modern view of intimacy and beauty with emerging needs for confidence and empowerment.

How can you engage women with sexy lingerie in the era of #MeToo?

PBB was fortunate to find the perfect lingerie start-up client to address this marketing challenge. My Malaya is a lingerie brand founded by entrepreneur Nicole Co.

We think our recent My Malaya “confident, sexy” photo campaign was able to achieve a high level of brand differentiation and user engagement because of the way we established the photoshoots art direction, selected the models, managed the shoot day, and established post production guidelines with our client. This allowed us to create memorable and engaging photos of attractive, strong women in lingerie that can be effectively used for e-shops, social media campaigns, and sales events.

My Malaya CEO Nicole Co was very pleased with the photos and art direction “the work was clean and professional. Julien from PBB was able to capture the fun and openness in each model, which is intrinsic to the brand. He allowed the character of each woman to shine.” When we talked to Co about her goals going forward she said, “at the moment, My Malaya products are mainly sold in the Philippines. I plan to sell globally to reach even more women. I see the brand as being an active voice and source of trusted products for sexuality, intimacy and women empowerment based on attractive content and products and a strong community of active women.” It was a pleasure with working with Co, have a look at the photos below and tell us what you think.


In contrast to My Malaya, Victoria’s Secret’s revenues have declined every single month in 2017 and continue to fall in 2018. Attempts to diversify their brand into swimwear and apparel lines have failed. Victoria’s Secrets brand is no longer in touch with the needs and preferences of women in the USA and China. They have not been able to find the right focus or intelligently shift to meet the current lifestyle brand choices of middle class women. The photo below feels out of date and out of touch.

Forbes published an article describing the dramatic fall of Victoria’s Secret, for many years Victoria’s Secret has been an icon of lingerie around the world. Because we were given an opportunity to work on a lingerie brand, we became interested in the reasons behind the fall of the lingerie giant and how their depictions of beauty fell tragically behind the times. Victoria’s Secret is known for aggressively retouching photos in their advertisements and choosing models that all have very similar physical features despite coming from all over the world. Local ethnic characteristics are not highlighted and truly individual life choices of the models are not celebrated. These women are all different versions of the same “Barbie” and their hyper sexualized look is not only unattainable it no longer inspires women to purchase their products.

My Malaya is not the only brand benefiting from a more empowering, relaxed and authentic approach to marketing lingerie and women’s lifestyle fashion.

An American brand called Aerie, which has vowed to never re-touch their images launched it’s #AerieREAL campaign in 2014. In this campaign Aerie did not retouch their models and used models that had different skin colors and body shapes. Blemishes and unique body characteristics were not to be modified on their models, for their new product launch.

Their campaigns have been very popular. With limited financing, Aerie now has over 150 store locations and about 1 million instagram followers. Aerie spoke directly to their audience and showed off their products in body shapes that may have better reflected the body shapes of their customers and thus created more of a curiosity and need for their products.

Social trends influence brands. When brand beliefs and values are well aligned with pop and meta trends, it triggers more powerful engagements between consumers and brands that leads to positive brand recognition and higher sales.

“Living in the Philippines, intimacy and sexuality were taboo topics. There are always stereotypes of what a women should be. I wanted this brand to empower women to be comfortable with their bodies and sexuality. ‘Malaya’ in Tagalog means to be free.”