Upskirt Shots, Straddling Teenagers, Threesomes and a Whole Lot of Controversy: The Calvin Klein Saga

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard of the latest in the Calvin Klein game: the glorified upskirt shot in the Erotica campaign. First, let me preface this by saying: what do you expect given the title? Second, are we THAT surprised? (Third, it’s OK if you’ve been living under a rock.)

Calvin Klein Controversial Ad Campaign: Mark Wahlberg and Kate Moss. Calvin Klein isn't afraid to push marketing and advertising boundaries to captivate the younger demographic.

It seems like it wasn’t long ago that we heard news of Australia banning the Calvin Klein campaign featuring Lara Stone in the midst of a bevy of male models, suggesting a gang rape scene. And then before that, of course, we had the “Wahlberg-Moss Scandal of 1992” that is still receiving coverage in the media. Especially when campaigns like Erotica come out.

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The fact is, Clavin Klein marketers are brilliantly adept at identifying new target markets. Calvin Klein’s Chief Marketing Officer, Melisa Goldie, commented on the campaign with the following: “This campaign is representative of how culture is evolving as we speak. We’re bringing together a diverse mix of provocateurs with a unique collective of visual artists to create content that sparks and drives cultural conversation.” Meaning in real people speak: We know y’all are using Snapchat to send dick pics, so you’re now our target demographic, young people.

That’s the thing about cK: they ALWAYS aim for the young. They are very well skilled at appealing to the current trends in the marketplace. I’m pushing 30 over here, and I’m starting to get on the fringes of their target market demographic. I recognize that upskirt shots may demoralize women, demean victims of sexual harassment, and encourage the normalization of behavior that is classified as a breach of privacy.

Fifteen years ago, however, I might not have processed all that information in the same way. Those might not have been the first thoughts that pop into my mind, so the conversational aspect of the campaign would’ve totally been lost on me. Instead, I would see something that would appeal to my young brain as “edgy” so of course I’d want to be a part of it. The information would be especially fleeting if I just had a conversation with my girlfriends about who sent what naked pic to who at lunch in high school.

That’s the brief of it. The biggest thing to get out of this is: their marketing team is entirely high fiving right now because kids are buying more of their underwear. And hey, that’s a job well done in the overall grand scheme of things. Last time I checked, Calvin Klein wasn’t a company based on moral and social obligations (despite whatever their MARKETING person says). They’re making money and will continue doing so, whether they leave the rest of us old farts behind or not. Because there’s always more young people.

So, whether you want to think of your vagina as a grapefruit (no, I don’t, but whatever floats your boat) or whether you think that sticking your hands down your crotch in what looks like a severe crabs itch, is normal is irrelevant. That underwear WILL BE SOLD.

 All images via FashionGoneRogue.com

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