Calvin Klein: Advertising Controversy
Calvin Klein, one of the popular and well known designers has become an iconic figure in the world of fashion with his bold marketing approach in his ad campaigns of jeans, fragrance and men's underwear. Klein has also been known for creating controversy, using sexuality as his most powerful marketing tool. Why does jeans advertising present only sexual themes? Advertisers use sex as an appeal to the consumer because it has long been recognized that “sex definitely sells.” Attention-grabbing techniques have always been the cornerstone of advertising. The underlining principle of advertising is to be memorable; even if the consumer looks in disgust, the point is that they have looked and have gotten hooked.
This paper will present the background and ethical dilemma of the situation involving the 1995 Calvin Klein ads use of young models posing partially nude in awkward settings. Then it will analyze the information presented in the Laurier case study as well as secondary research conducted by our group and conclude with a set of recommendations based on three identified dilemmas.
Starting in the 1907s, Calvin Klein entered the designer jeans market using the sexy slogan, “What comes between me and my Calvins? Nothing.” Then in the early 1980s, he was in the middle of a controversy with his ads featuring 15 year old Brooke Shields in tawdry poses. He is known to feature nude women in perfume ads. His underwear advertisements show stars such as Marky Mark barely dressed. According to the Public Eye[i], Klein “has pioneered masturbation, bestiality and violence in advertising with fashion's anorexic-looking, Kate Moss. He displayed her feeling her breasts, posing naked with a large dog and bare-chested with a black eye, holding her hand over her mouth as if she had just been hit.”[ii]
The success of fashion designing nudged advertising innuendo to the brink of the...