Calvin Klein is a global fashion company that’s been around for many decades. It is one of the most famous fashion brands in the world today. It has a vast product range in different categories like fragrances, luxury products, furniture, watches, leather wears, lifestyle accessories, and many more. The brand continues to market its product to fashion lovers using provocative and straightforward marketing campaigns you cannot ignore. Calvin Klein advertising strategies allow the brand to enter the digital age while maintaining a solid following. In this article, we’ll be exploring the Calvin Klein campaign strategy and how the brand can maintain customer loyalty while being a fashion symbol for sexiness. Keep reading to discover Calvin Klein’s advertising strategy and the brands’ top campaigns over the years.
Calvin Klein Advertising Strategy – Brand History
Calvin Richard Klein’s origin is the New York City’s Bronx area. He chose the fashion path quite early in life and attended the Manhattan High School of Art and Design. After graduation, he also attended the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, where he was awarded an honorary doctorate.
Calvin Klein started as a suit shop in a New York Hotel. Afterward, Calvin Klein began to refine his talent by apprenticing under many manufacturers in New York. Calvin finally decided to start his own business with his close friend, Barry K Schwartz. The two opened Calvin Klein Limited together with a $10,000 capital.
Calvin Klein gained fame at the local fashion scene when he unveiled a designer collection at the New York Bonwin Teller. Most people described the collection as understated coats and dresses with a youthful look. Many fashion lovers appreciated the new designs, and soon, Calvin Klein appeared on the cover of Vogue Magazine. This appearance also helped the brand boost sale of the designer collection.
Calvin Klein Growth
With different Calvin Klein advertising strategies, the brand increased its annual revenue to $30 million by the late 70s. Klein proceeded to purchase a license allowing him to also sell different fashion items and his design line. His new collections included blazers, sportswear, lingerie, and other lifestyle accessories like sunglasses, scarves, fur. He also began to sell shoes, belts, and even bed sheets. His designer talents continued to grow until his recognition nationwide when he received the Coty American Fashion Critic Award in 1973.
Calvin Klein went on to win this award two more times, helping him advance his journey to the top of the international fashion industry. The brand further released its signature jeans, which stirred the fashion market. The jeans sold over 200,000 units on the launch day. Calvin Klein also gained fame by revolutionizing men’s underwear through innovative Calvin Klein advertising strategies. The most famous advertising campaign was in 1980, where a 15-year old Brooke Shield looked at the camera flirtatiously and gave the sexual line ‘Do you know what comes between my Calvins and me? Nothing.’ This ad created a global phenomenon, and the brand continues to do this with its innovative campaign strategies.
Calvin Klein Advertising Strategies
There are some core elements that make up Calvin Klein advertising strategies. Below are the strategies that make Calvin Klein such a phenomenon in the fashion industry.
It is not Afraid of Provocative Ideas
In 1980, Calvin Klein shocked the world with its 15-year-old Brooke Shield ads. This ad sparked controversy in the media and, in turn, made the brand the most talked-about brand throughout the year. However, the conversations didn’t stop Calvin Klein as the brand has come to accept its controversial reputation. Over the years, the CK brand continued to release provocative ads. Calvin ads feature sexy models and movie stars who wore underwear only. Another famous Calvin Klein advertising campaign involved Kate Moss, almost naked.
A top Calvin Klein advertising strategy uses its controversial reputation to build brand awareness. Once again, Kate Moss featured in a Calvin Klein ad that promoted its Obsession perfume. This time, she was entirely naked. Also, Eva Mendes promoted the Secret Obsession fragrance line in 2009. She was photographed naked in bed, and it came as no surprise when the ad was banned. In 2015, Justin Beiber modeled in a Calvin Klein advertising campaign. This campaign caused many controversies because most felt it was overly photoshopped. Through controversial ads, Calvin Klein creates buzz on social media, the press, and its target audience.
The Brand Uses Controversy to Improve Its Personality
In 2016, Calvin Klein released sexually explicit photos for one of Calvin Klein’s advertising campaigns. This ad attracted vast attention as it featured Klara Kristin revealing her underwear. The campaign led to vast outrage on social media, and many people had only negative comments for the ad. Thousands of people took to their social media accounts to leave nasty comments and share their company opinions. Top media outlets like Fox News, The Blaze, and Breitbart stoked the sparks by criticizing the brand.
Calvin Klein’s response was to keep the campaign photos online while declining to comment on the outrage caused by the pictures. The brand remained a popular topic on the press and social media for a long time. During this period, Calvin Klein received the attention it needed. Most people viewed Calvin Klein as a brand that was unafraid. Therefore, most young audiences could relate to this personality as few brands could be bold under backlash. This controversy also led to an increase in sales for the brand as it achieved new heights of popularity.
The Utilization of Celebrities and Social Media Influencers
Calvin Klein is famous for using popular faces to promote the Calvin Klein collection. As part of the Calvin Klein advertising campaign, the brand sent products to fashion lovers like Aimee Song, Fergie, and many more. Calvin Klein’s popular #mycalvins advertising campaign featured several social media influencers and social media celebrities. These celebrities took pictures of themselves wearing Calvin Klein underwear in their homes and hotels and then posted them online. Many people online followed their lead and began uploading their photos wearing Calvin Klein photos with the hashtag #MyCalvins. Due to this, the Calvin Klein advertising campaign earned over 4 million social media interactions. This campaign also helped the brand gain impressive exposure among young audiences who were the major social media users at the time.
Noteworthy Calvin Klein Advertising Campaigns to Remember
Calvin Klein conquered the fashion world through provocative and controversial campaigns. This explains why the brand is a symbol of sexiness. Below are some of the best Calvin Klein advertising campaigns over the years.
Calvin Klein’s 2015 Tinder Style Campaign
In the 2015 #mycalvins campaign, the brand used sexting, a provocative virtual language, to advertise them. The Calvin Klein advertising campaign features photos of people of different genders. It covers messages about cheating and nudity. At the bottom of the images was the campaign tagline’ raw texts, real stories.’ This tagline implied that actual events and people inspired the messages in the ad.
Calvin Klein’s Chief Marketing Officer, Melisa Goldie, shared that the goal was to show how people communicated and dated in the digital age. The campaign’s goal was to highlight the truth about the modern dating style. The campaign also shed light on the freedom and instantaneous nature. Most people considered the campaign a message about open relationships, modern love, and the complex sexuality of many people. Calvin Klein ensured this ad was displayed in large LED billboards in different cities worldwide. Like other Calvin Klein advertising campaigns, this ad generated lots of controversies.
The 20th Anniversary Campaign – CK One
In 2014, Calvin Klein released a video campaign celebrating its 20th Anniversary. This Calvin Klein advertising video, CK One, was readily available on YouTube, and a TV commercial followed it. The brand also released a printable version of the campaign, and it featured collages of influential people who took part in the campaign. This advertising video did not feature the test until the final shoot. At this point, it showed the hashtag #ckforme and its Tumblr page for the campaign. This CK One campaign video features social media influencers of all sexes. The ad targeted the younger millennial demographics, 18-25 years old.
To encourage audience participation, the brand included the hashtag #CKmeforme. This hashtag generated engagement with the campaign’s influencers and fostered involvement from their customers. The Tumblr page for the campaign also features content from the influencers. Viewers could comment, like, and repost any content they wanted on this page. The Tumblr page also revealed the CK One Snapchat account. However, some people discovered this account through their influencer’s channels.
Twitter wasn’t left out of this Calvin Klein advertising campaign as users could like, retweet, and repost tweets from Calvin Klein’s official page and the influencers’ pages. On Snapchat, it set the content to disappear within 24 hours. However, users could view posts from the campaign during this period. On Tumblr, users could like the posts and repost them on their own Tumblr page.
The 2015 #MyCalvins Campaign
In 2015, Calvin Klein released a new ad on YouTube for the #MyCalvins campaign. The video features model Lara Stone and singer Justin Beiber. Within days of its release, this Calvin Klein advertising campaign earned millions of views and thousands of likes. Afterward, the brand released a print campaign with Bieber. The video’s shot was black and white, and there were no texts until the end. In the end, the #mycalvins appeared on the screen alongside the Calvin Klein Jeans logo. It also featured a link to the brand’s official website.
The brand incorporated the hashtag into the campaign to engage with the audience. The video for this campaign features stories of pop culture, self-expression, and sexuality. It targeted young millennials within the age range of 18 – 25. Justin Beiber was the campaign’s social influencer, and the brand encouraged customers to join the campaign. Calvin Klein launched a website to display the best user-generated content. Although Justin Beiber launched the campaign, Calvin Klein collaborated with movie stars, models, social media influencers, and musicians. The brand used Instagram as the leading broadcasting platform for this Calvin Klein advertising campaign.
Calvin Klein is a fashion legend that’s been around for more than five decades. Its vast product range includes watches, perfumery, leather, home furnishings, amongst many others. The brand is famous for its provocative advertising strategies and campaigns. Its campaigns ensure people keep talking about the brand long after its release. This campaign helped Calvin Klein maintain a strong following entering the digital space. We hope this article provided insight into Calvin Klein advertising methods and campaign strategies.