Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Here We Go Again

Photo: Steven Miesel/Calvin Klein

Looks like the good folks at Calvin Klein are at it again! Their new billboard ad, located in NYC's SoHo area has caused quite a commotion amongst SoHo's residents. "It's borderline pornographic," said neighborhood resident Lisa Marchese, 36, a marketing specialist. "They all look so young, particularly the girl. And to portray them in a threesome - it's just taking it too far." Alicia Shay, 24, who ironically sells jeans, also objected to the ad. "Just the positioning of them all - she's kissing him, the other guy has his hands down her pants, they're all misty even. It's really inappropriate."

However, the designers at Calvin Klein think the bru haha is much ado about nothing. "I think it is a fantastic campaign", said Italo Zucchelli, menswear designer for Calvin Klein. "That is what Calvin Klein Jeans is supposed to be. Everyone needs to be scandalized and screaming. That is what we want." Calvin Klein's Creative Director, Francisco Costa said, “I think it’s great for tourists...I think they’ll see that and walk right into our store".

From a business standpoint, I understand the need to grab the consumer's attention with provocative ads. Sex sells. However, in this case, is this ad really shocking? My initial response to it was YAAAWN. Nowadays, society is so saturated with sexually charged images, and we've come to expect this type of ad from CK, that this ad doesn't create the same controversy as previous Calvin Klein ads. In fact, it comes off as desperation for Calvin Klein to make themselves relevant again.

I hate to burst Messrs. Zucchelli and Costa's bubbles, but in today's economy consumers are looking for long-lasting quality. If Calvin Klein's products don't offer that, no sexually charged ad is going to persuade folks to spend huge amounts of money on their products.

(SOURCES: and NYMag's The Cut)

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