Topic #1: Calvin Klein Advertising
The Calvin Klein advertisement I am referring to came from a popular magazine, Cosmopolitan. It’s an older ad but still very controversial yet popular. The content of the ad is very obvious; a shirtless male laying underneath a topless female in a very intimate way, holding her breast. The only words on the ad are Calvin Klein Jeans. I’ve ran across this ad in many places, magazines, online and in stores.
I believe the persuasive technique used in this specific ad is the snob-appeal. The ad is persuading you to buy their clothing line (Calvin Klein) because it could enhance your sex appeal. If you buy these jeans you will be sexy and wanted is what the advertising is trying to convince you. The risqué ad definitely incorporates the Association Principle type of advertising. In our culture sex is everywhere (especially in advertising). Alongside sex are images of what women and men should look like. This specific ad not only incorporates sex in their ad but displays woman as a sex object. The ad could be taken as if I wear this bran of clothing I could get a woman/man that looks like that. The instant association you make between the two(or more) things being advertised is rarely thought about deeply. When you do sit back and try and find the relation between a clothing brand and sex you don’t really see a real connection between the two aside from what the advertisement is selling you. Calvin Klein has taken full advantage of the use of technology. You can see their ads on television, and the internet. I believe they still use magazine advertisement the most and I think that is to mainly target woman and because many people flip through magazines whether subscribing for them in the mail, picking them up on road trips/vacations, waiting in the doctor’s office etc.
The advertisement for Calvin Klein Jeans definitely is part of a few larger campaigns. Firstly, they are promoted Calvin Klein brand as a whole. Secondly, they are advocating sex appeal. I believe the ad is doubtlessly similar to many other types of advertisements I have seen. Many clothing lines use sex appeal to sell their clothing, along with cars, perfume, alcohol, etc. The target audience is young adults. Demographically this ad appeals to the single scene. Teens, college students, young adults, people who are interested in up to date style, sex appeal, etc. These ads display mostly young, attractive adults which entice the same age group to want to dress like them. There are many types of stereotypes in Calvin Klein advertising. In this ad specifically, I believe it displays woman as sexually objects. It also potrays a certain body type (both male and female) that are “desirable” when really it’s unrealistic for everyone to look like the models in the ad. I don’t really find JUST this advertising offense, I find Calvin Klein as a whole offensive. If this was the one and only ad that displayed sex for Calvin Klein ads I probably wouldn’t bat an eye. It’s the fact that everywhere I look that has to do with Calvin Klein it’s all sexual and stereotypical ads. They have had many lawsuits and controversial topics come up with their brand because they push the limits of what is ‘OK and what is crossing the line.
What makes the advertising memorable is the sexuality it displays. Regardless of how popular sexual ads are in our culture there’s a “shock” factor that keeps some memorable. This one particularly I believe is memorable because it shows a topless female lying on top of a male in a different but intimate position. The only thing they are wearing is Calvin Klein Jeans. I personally, haven’t and wouldn’t buy the jeans they are advertising. I’m in the age group they are targeting but I don’t like feeling like I need to wear something specifically to gain something. Regardless I wouldn’t wear anything from Calvin Klein because I would feel shameful promoting a company that uses sexual imaging to sell their product. It’s this type of advertising that cause many young adults to feel insecure. I don’t believe many think like me though. I believe many young adults will see this ad and be drawn to the product because sex has become such a broad topic today among teens they are buying all sorts of things to appeal to the opposite sex and to feel better about themselves. Companies are taking full advantage of these.
In my opinion the crude, naked exposure of men and women as being a negative image of selling any legitimate product other than pornography and I would hardly call pornography legitimate, is wrong. The issue of having some kind of respect, decency and class should all be considered when presentations are put forth to the public. However, has the expectation of sex to be in advertisements become a norm? Surely, now that people are starting to express negativity maybe there will be a greater move to a more tasteful display of advertisements. People can get the idea of the sexual content without it being blasted in our face. Images of people can be brought about just as easily in a sexy classy fashion as opposed to “skanky.” People are also coming to realize that somehow wanting to hold up to some of these model’s standards come about with a high cost. Self-esteem and health issues are becoming more and more an issue. Not only will companies get negative effects but maybe individuals will also suffer not only financially but emotionally.
In conclusion, analyzing this Calvin Klein ad has strengthened my view of sex in advertising. I’ve become more aware of the emotionally toll these type of ads have on young adults. When I first was looking at the ad, I could feel myself wishing to look like that girl. I had to change my train of thought to fall for the advertising tricks that I was falling so easily for. I’m fairly aware of some of the hidden “ads” in advertisement, so for me to almost fall for it makes me feel horrible for the teens who idolize these models each day. If anything I learned more about myself through this advertisement. I’ve learned I am a strong individual, that doesn’t fall into the “norm” and refuses to let myself. I will not promote companies and brand names that advertise images that are causing our culture problems such as self-imaging, low self-esteems, and sex at a young age.
Articles On Calvin Klein Advertising:
1.Calvin Klein: A Case Study http://www.media-awareness.ca/english/resources/educational/handouts/ethics/calvin_klein_case_study.cfm
2. Calvin Klein Controversy: New Billboard Dropping the F-Bomb? http://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/2011/03/31/calvin-klein-controversy-new-billboard-dropping-f-bomb/3. Calvin Klein Ad Taps Foursome Sex http://abcnews.go.com/Business/story?id=7854000&page=1