Most people think that Calvin Klein Slogans are controversial. While that’s still a point of debate in many circles, what we can all seem to agree on is that Calvin Klein as a brand is creative and sure knows how to entice its desired target market. Of course, a brand with humble beginnings like Calvin Klein has to find ways to stay above the competition. With only about $10,000 available to him as starting capital, it seemed Calvin Klein did not have what it takes to compete with the already established big guns in the fashion industry. However, he came up with the turning point strategy that many consider today as controversial marketing.
Calvin Klein seems to be one of the few brands that thrived on this type of advertisement. They mastered the art of controversial marketing—knowing how to move the right piece per time, using various strategies, including slogans. This strategy, combined with top-notch, creative product designs, shifted what is known to be the norm in the fashion industry. With this right combination, no one would have thought Calvin Klein would become as successful as today; named one of the first brands in American fashion.
Before Calvin Klein changed the landscape, the fashion industry was dominated by brands that took things too seriously. But, Calvin came with a casual and laid-back system that resonated well with many people—especially in America. The evidence is in the results the brand has garnered to date.
- Calvin Klein’s Controversial Marketing Strategy
- The Calvin Klein Slogans and What They Mean
Calvin Klein’s Controversial Marketing Strategy
Embracing Tinder and Sexting
Calvin Klein, as a brand, is the mastermind behind many of the most iconic advertisements in history. They apply the principle of creative simplicity to product design and establish that you don’t have to use a rich wild set of graphics to create a memorable image. Therefore, they have succeeded in redefining how we think about fashion. Most people will also argue that Calvin Klein became so popular only because of its controversial marketing strategy, and to a reasonable extent, they are right. However, they have conquered the world of fashion and thrived over most of the challenges they’ve experienced. Here are some of the ways Calvin Klein achieved fame and popularity using controversial campaigns and advertising.
Even with all the controversial stories flying around concerning Calvin as a brand, it’s pretty odd to find that even in 2015, the brand hasn’t stopped putting up controversial campaigns. We see the brand promoting provocative language—sexting in a recent one. Calvin Klein claimed that the motivation behind the advert was real-life events and people. The advert contained sultry photos of various people of both genders covered with messages about nudity, cheating, etc. At the bottom of the picture, we see one of the most controversial Calvin Klein Slogans; raw text, real stories.”
According to the brand’s Chief Marketing Officer, the ad simulated people’s behavior. She says it’s not only common to the younger generation; it’s a thing that spreads across the digital dating world. Because it is accurate and authentic to know how the brand’s product consumer communicates, it is necessary to identify with it. The goal is to highlight the truth about dating, which involves the meet-up, the freedom, and the hook-up that the digital space makes possible and how instantaneous it can be. The brand identifies with the nitty-gritty of online dating complex sexuality and identifies with the truth of modern-day love.
Used Social Media and Social Celebrities
Leveraging the influence of social media celebrities is a standard marketing strategy these days. Brand’s make good use of this strategy to get the attention of their target market. That’s what Calvin Klein does as well. In the early days, brand advertisements were done using images of celebrities showing the world that their favourite person enjoys using the brand’s products in anticipation that fans of such celebrities will do the same. It’s also a way of conveying to the audience that the brand’s products have credibility, and if a top-class celebrity can use them, everyone should be able to use the products.
Calvin Klein had used the faces of several celebrities in the past, the first of them being Brooke Shield, where she featured in the controversial campaign. Today, there are several celebrity names associated with the brand. We saw Mark Wahlberg and Kate Moss as the face of Calvin Klein, with both of them also having their fair share of controversial campaigns.
It’s now common for brands to send some products to celebrities to promote through their social media influence. Each of the influencers under the brand’s coverage post photos of them on their page—however, what seems to be the job specification for celebrities that promote Calvin Klein’s products is the ability to show a bit of sexiness wearing the brand’s products. This system has worked so far.
Spark Online Conversation with Racy Campaigns
“I flash in my Calvin” is one of the many controversial Calvin Klein slogans. The slogan itself may not have a racy meaning, but its context showed the intent. In a 2016 #myclavin campaign, we see actress Klara Kristins revealing an up-skirt photo wearing Calvin underwear. This caused a lot of uproar and gathered a lot of publicity. It generated a lot of negative comments and sparked tons of online outrage. Thousands of people took to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc., to bash the company for using such pictorial expression. Many news outlets such as Fox News, Breitbart, Blaze, etc., joined the bandwagon.
However, it seems to Calvin Klein that the uproar was cheap publicity and that these news outlets could criticize the brand without having to pay them sat well with the brand’s management. In response, Calvin Klein refused to pull down the adverts. It continued to gain popularity as a topic of discussion with the press and on social media. In return, the brand successfully gained the attention it craved. We see evidence of the success of the brand’s millions of dollars afterward. In Calvin Klein’s words, “I’m in a business where no one cares about anything except how well your last collection sold.”
Calvin Klein Embraced its Controversial Reputation
Despite the amount of backlash the brand receives, they consistently release print adverts that are overtly sexualized. Several of the brand’s campaigns included sexy stars showing them only in their underwear. Starting from Brooke’s campaign to that of Kate, then Mark Wahlberg. Justin Bieber and other celebrities have taken up the call these days, and they continue to make controversial adverts for the brand.
Now that it seems Calvin Klein is not going to stop anytime soon, it’s safe to conclude that the brand has embraced their controversial reputation and are willing to ride on it continuously. Therefore, the brand has carved a niche in the corridors of controversial marketing, and they are the master in that space. It’s a system that has worked for them so far, so there seems to be no reason to change it now.
Calvin Klein Slogans and What They Mean
A slogan is a memorable phrase or motto used in political, clan, religious circles, commercials, and other contexts to carry an idea or purpose. They are usually repetitive expressions to persuade a defined target group or public members about their concept.
The list of Calvin Klein slogans used over the years seems endless; however, there are three major ones—two of which were slogans used in the early years of the brand’s campaign. The other is a recent trend that entails leaving a blank space for anything to fit into, allowing fans and antagonists to express their feelings about the brand’s products. Some of these slogans include;
“Nothing Comes Between Me and My Calvins”
Brooke Shield used this slogan in the early days for the brand’s campaign. The advert showed Brooke crouching awkwardly with her legs splayed in a compromising yoga-like pose. We see the camera ascend slowly till she looks up to whisper the line—which is now immortal—“Want to know what comes between me and my Calvins? Nothing!” Coupled with the role Brooke had played earlier, in Louis Malle’s film; Pretty Baby, as a sex worker, the outrage was massive.
Many think that Brooke—age thirteen at the time—was too young to be portrayed in such a way. That is because many people interpreted that slogan to be suggestive that she wasn’t wearing underwear—a gesture that we now know as “going commando.” It was an advert for the jeans she wore, so it was easy for people to conclude that that’s what she meant.
However, many years after—thirty-four years later, to be precise—Brooke wrote and revealed that she had no such intention to be sexual or controversial. It was only a simple way of saying; I love my Calvins. In the same way, anyone would say nothing can come between me and my best friend or my pets. That’s not to mean you sexualize your pet, but only an expression of love.
“Between Love and Madness Comes Obsession”
Obsession is the perfume Calvin Klein produced and sought to introduce to the public. They chose the controversial route—as usual, and came up with the slogan, “Between love and madness comes obsession,” carried alongside controversial photos of clad celebrities. The slogan means that obsession—the perfume—has what it takes to attract those who will be madly in love with you. Though it’s difficult for many people to get this message, it does not change the intention.
“I ________ in my Calvin”
This slogan is the most recent, flagged off in 2016, and remains relevant today. The intention is to create a slogan that everyone can relate to. The gap left in-between the words is there for fans and antagonists to fill in. As a result, we saw many varieties of the slogan.
As we have seen, Calvin Klein is one brand that thrives on controversial advertisements and campaigns. We see another version in the ad with actress Klara Kristin where she poses in an up-the-skirt shot, with the tagline “I flash in #myCalvins.” This was one of the many Calvin Klein slogans that spur an uproar, and many people, fans and celebrities alike, took after the trend filling the gap with different words, most of which we can consider as suggestive.
An example is Kendall Jenner, who posted an image with the slogan saying: “I eat in #myCalvins.” She was also seen squeezing a grapefruit in the photo, which many people consider suggestive. But, who cares? That’s what Calvin Klein as a brand loves to see—no doubt!
No one seems to beat Calvin Klein when it comes to the mind-playing game. From having only $10,000 as starting capital to being worth billions of dollars, the brand’s success is somewhat a miracle, a miracle born out of creativity, which is the unreserved use of Calvin Klein Slogans.