Case Study

Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty Lingerie: Deceptive Marketing for All Body Types?

Bradley W. Brooks, Queens University of Charlotte, Steven M. Cox, Queens University of Charlotte, Cara O. Peters, Winthrop University
December 1, 2022
North America
Marketing & Sales, Ethics & Social Justice
3 pages
Marketing ethics, Business Ethics, Deceptive Pricing, brand positioning, Hunt-Vitell Theory, Rihanna
Student Price: 
$4.00 (€3.72)
Average rating: 

A business partnership between pop star Rihanna and TechStyle to sell Savage X Fenty (or X Fenty) branded lingerie seemed like an ideal business start-up and sales started strong. Rihanna provided the company star power and the products were designed inclusively for all body types, sizes, and ethnicities. However, two years into the business venture consumers were complaining about the company’s membership opt-out requirement and about the lack of transparency in pricing on the website. Accusations of deceptive marketing threatened the company’s image.

Learning Outcomes: 

In analyzing this critical incident, students should be able to:

1. Describe the positioning of an online business start-up

2. Identify success factors in an online business’ initial positioning

3. Explain the role of trade organization ethics statements on company behavior

4. Apply the Hunt-Vitell theory of marketing ethics to an Internet company membership offering

5. Assess whether an Internet opt-out membership offering violates current law

6. Evaluate the branding impact of deceptive pricing accusations

7. Develop strategies for a brand that is facing deceptive pricing accusations and evaluate the implications of using each strategy