“I’m crazy, and I don’t pretend to be anything else.” – Calvin Klein

Who is Calvin Klein?


Calvin Klein is an American fashion house, founded in 1968 by Calvin Klein.The brand started off from a small showroom in New York designing minimalist coats and dresses for the young New York woman. Calvin Klein made his debut after landing on the cover of Vogue in 1969, after which the brand grew exponentially.From producing his iconic city chic dresses and coats, Calvin expanded his line, and today offers a wide range of clean and innovative products from women’s apparel, accessories, footwear, fragrances, menswear and home furniture. Renowned for their denim jeans and underwear, Calvin Klein’s release of the denim jean was the distinct product that propelled his status in the fashion industry.In 2002, Philips van Heusen Corp, an American apparel company, bought the brand.

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(Left: Flaunting in #MyCalvins, 2016) (Right: Mitchell Slaggert Tests Limits, 2016)

Calvin Klein can be described as a global lifestyle brand (pvh.com). The brand is minimalist, aesthetic and progressive, embracing the all-American ideals. Calvin Klein seeks to engage with their audience through sensual design and provocative imagery that encourages discovery and inspires passion and individuality.

Who wears Calvins?

The target market of Calvin Klein primarily targets the millennial generation, with ages then ranging from 14-50 years old, which embody ideals of modernism, who are fashion-forward and daring. Calvin Klein appeals to two different types of consumers, the iconic, classic consumer that seeks a staple item and the fashion conscious consumer looking for the latest trend.

The brand strives to reach all tiers of life through the Calvin Klein portfolio, satisfying all varieties of consumer groups from teenagers to adults, who embody a variety of interests, either in business, athletics or casual leisure, by providing 11 different Calvin Klein labels, each occupying their own identity at various price levels.


Communicating the message

The whole focus of Calvin Klein’s new campaign is centered around how consumers and iconic figures like Kate Moss, use the products of the brand with the slogan, #mycalvins that enforce this concept (Calvin Klein). There are multiple feeling, emotions, activities and personalities that can be chosen to inspire consumers. Once the specific key insight is chosen, it stimulates a quick video that incorporates a dramatic and sensual feeling, which the viewer immediately wants to embody and become. After the video, the specific link chosen, takes the consumer to a unique page, which holds characteristics to the key insight the consumer chose. Each unique page is even accompanied by a popular, appropriate soundtrack to enhance the mood and emotions trying to be portrayed.

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A large range of icons and celebrities are used to compliment the campaign where Calvin Klein encourages the idea that not a typical target markets should be the only consumers that use it’s products. Rather Calvin Klein wants a wide variety of consumers, with unique personalities to also connect to the brand. Icons include, Bella Hadid, Henry Rollins, Margot Robbie and Zoe Krauitz (Calvin Klein). The large and varied celebrities used in the campaign allow different segments and consumers to identify themselves in the campaign.


All the promotional tools used by Calvin Klein, are modern and often technology based. Mostly popular social media amongst young adolescents are used such as Instagram. The use of technology based social media reinforces the young sensual and striking characteristics of the brand. All promotional tools used, from standard advertisements to Instagram, keep the core theme of the campaign throughout the promotional tool used, which unifies the overall message and effect of the campaign.


Positive aspects about the promotional campaign

During springtime this year, Calvin Klein launched a viral campaign featuring the phrase, “I ____ in #mycalvins” and starred globally renown celebrities, activists and models (Calvin Klein, 2016). The celebrities were individually photographed wearing the underwear that has the words, ‘Calvin Klein’ branded on the waistband (Fumo, 2015). Each photograph was then edited to feature the phrase, “I ____ in #mycalvins” and the word chosen by each celebrity to complete the phrase. Calvin Klein’s account on a social media platform named, Instagram features the photographs and the short film (Eror, 2016).


The celebrity endorsement inclined followers to purchase Calvin Klein underwear, share what they do in it on Instagram and engage in the recognisable hashtag, #MyCalvins (Wang, 2016). Presently, a slew of slim millennials post lo-fi photographs tagged with the hashtag and feature the just visible branded waistband above the sweatpants line or under bed covers. This intimate visual style copied from celebrities forms a brand culture (Fumo, 2015). The hashtag strongly links the brand’s content across all its social media platforms (Yeoman, 2015) and strengthens the brand’s relevance for millennials in three ways. Firstly, the user-generated content tagged with the hashtag (Fumo, 2015). Secondly, anyone can post a tagged selfie (Sauvalle, 2014). Thirdly, younger individuals mainly use hashtags (Evens, 2016).

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The black-and-white photography resembles the brand’s printed advertisements in 1992 and implies a consistent photography style (Fumo, 2015). A consistent and unified brand message is thus delivered to consumers (Calvin Klein, 2016). Calvin Klein can also be applauded for its synergy within the campaign since it promotes all five Calvin Klein brands simultaneously (Fenner, 2016). In addition, the campaign has no official name and thus justifies the generalisability of the phrase, “I ____ in #mycalvins” (Brannigan, 2016).

Vote for your Calvin

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(Own photography, 2016)

Reference List

Calvin Klein. 2016. [Online]. Available: http://www.pvh.com/brands/calvin-klein [2016, September 04].

Brannigan, M. 2016. CALVIN KLEIN’S SPRING 2016 GLOBAL CAMPAIGN IS INSANELY SEXUAL [Online]. Available: http://www.fashionista.com/2016/05/calvin-klein-spring-2016-campaign [2016, September 04].

Eror, A. 2016. Highsnobiety. Justin Bieber, Kendall Jenner & Kendrick Lamar Star in Calvin Klein’s #mycalvins Campaign [Online]. Available: http://www.highsnobiety.com/2016/01/27/justin-bieber-kendrick-lamar-calvin-klein-mycalvins-spring-2016/ [2016, September 04].

Evens, J. 2016. Calvin Klein’s New Campaign is a Sexed-Up Milennial Fever Dream [Online]. Available: http://www.esquire.com/style/mens-fashion/news/a41575/calvin-klein-spring-2016/ [2016, September 04].

Fenner, J. 2016. Frank Ocean Comes Out of Hiding for Calvin Klein’s Fall 2016 Ad Campaign [Online]. Available: http://www.gq.com/story/calvin-klein-fall-2016-campaign-frank-ocean-kate-moss-cameron-dallas [2016, September 04].

Flaunting In #MyCalvins. 2016. [Online]. Available: https://az616578.vo.msecnd.net/files/responsive/embedded/any/desktop/2016/05/10/635985124233806573-277406486_my%20calvins%204.jpg [2016, September 09].

Fumo, N. 2015. Unpacking Calvin Klein’s Wildly Successful #MyCalvins Campaign [Online]. Available: http://www.racked.com/2015/10/15/9534325/calvin-klein-mycalvins-justin-bieber-kendall-jenner [2016, September 04].

Mitchell Slaggert Tests Limits. 2016. [Online]. Available: http://www.spetteguless.it/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/mitchell-slaggert-test-limits.jpg [2016, September 09].

Own photography. 2016.

Sauvalle, J. 2014. Out Magazine. #MyCalvins, Best Hashtag Ever [Online]. Available: http://www.out.com/fashion/truman-says/2014/02/21/calvin-klein-underwear-model-selfie-mycalvins [2016, September 04].

Wang, C. 2016. If You’re Outraged By The Calvin Klein Ads, Read This [Online]. Available: http://www.refinery29.com/2016/05/110676/calvin-klein-underwear-ad-controversy [2016, September 04].

Yeoman, M. 2015. Social Media Today. Content Marketing Minds: The #MyCalvins Marketing Campaign [Online]. Available: http://www.socialmediatoday.com/content/content-marketing-minds-mycalvins-marketing-campaign-5 [2016, September 04].