Calvin Klein Attacked For Upskirt Photo, Creates Successful Ad

Calvin Klein recently released a photograph of a young girl (who looks underage but is actually 23) standing over the top of a camera with a skirt on and underwear visible. Is the ad crossing the line? Maybe, but the conflict is giving Calvin Klein millions of dollars in free advertising.

Obviously I don't believe that corporations should be allowed to use porn to advertise their businesses publicly but this argument never seems to end. Every few months I hear about how someone else is "outraged" over a certain ad. The irony is that these "outraged" people are the ones who popularize the ad campaign. This image, which I would have never run across, is now on national news. 

Let's remember that the goal of any ad is to capture the attention of it's viewers. Calvin Klein is winning this game. The sexier the images, the more complaints, the more free press. Even if Calvin Klein pulls the ad and apologizes, it would still be considered a wildly successful advertising campaign. 

So what's the answer? Is there a way to publicly share you distaste for an advertising campaign without promoting the company or should you quietly choose not to buy from that manufacturer? 

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41 Comments

I said (maybe underage) because everyone complaining says she looks too young but I'll change that to make more sense.

user-108562's picture

Perception is a funny thing. You put the same girl laying on a couch in just underwear while covering her breasts with her arms and no one would have a problem with the image. Show less body but in this voyeuristic manner and people go crazy. Photographically speaking I don't like that weird line up the right side in the background or the pink/red v-thing...whatever it is in the bottom left but hey, maybe I'm just too picky.

Totally agree. Or how underwear is sexy and a bikini is just swimwear. We all fall for it in some way.

Konrad Sarnowski's picture

Just wanted to write the same thing :D

Kolade Agunbiade's picture

It's the idea behind the image not the image... Don't act like the person behind the campaign did not mean to cause any controversy.... They knew exactly what they wanted. A lady fully dressed in clothing speaks something else if she bends and faces her ass to the camera while still fully dressed... You guys are creatives you know what i mean.

Chris Q's picture

so there is no nudity, and girls run around in their underwear or a bikini constantly in many places around the USA, but this specific angle is somehow offensive???

...right.

*cough* BULLSH*T *cough*

Chris Q's picture

its a colossal waste of time and effort.

Anonymous's picture

I'm glad I'm not married to a woman who's so prudish she's offended by a photo of underwear. Do these people shower with their clothes on? How do they reproduce??

All I can think of is Tobias Funke and is jeans underwear... hahaha

Zoli Tarnavölgyi's picture

Lol. This whole thing can be an issue only in the US. The land of prudes and meaningless suits. Sorry. Waste of time. And those interviews... Ahh :-)

Zoli Tarnavölgyi's picture

Actually, I love and respect thosens of things about the US, especially this open site and forum :-),but the mentioned things always make me laugh. That's all. I didn't talked about the other 200 country. Usually they also give a sh*t about these ads. (Or they simply don't let it in with religious reasons-no issue at all). But at least much less focus. And in my opinion CK and other brands do this kind of ad directly to the countries, where they can expect some kind of outcry --> attention. :-)

Sebastian K's picture

It happened in the UK too with the "scandal" about the supplement company and their "beach body" ads, which people complained were body shaming. I'm a little tired of everyone taking offense in everything, and it's about time brands stop apologizing for things they don't need to.

I don't think there has been a time when everyone has accepted every single ad made, but now with social media, sensitive people can band together and be offended from anywhere.

Roman Kazmierczak's picture

Everyone can have an opinion. Expressing it is good, but please don't impose it on others. I don't see how this is porn. It is far from porn. Let the market verify if it was good campaign or not.
Personally I believe it was great move, making all those insecure people talk about the brand. I didn't even see it before this post. Free advertisement :D

Michael Comeau's picture

Doesn't anyone know their history?

http://nymag.com/nymetro/news/anniversary/35th/n_8554/

michael buehrle's picture

what a lousy piece from night line. fashion porn ? that's crap. you see more everyday at the beach. they put on a bunch of fashion no bodies to talk about it and how bad it is. the girl is 23. period. doesn't matter how old she looks, she is not under age and not even close. i guess they deserve an A in the ad department, they are getting tons of free press over it.

Thomas Brablec's picture

Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, ... Are you trying to tell me that sex sells? No, there's absolutely no way. I think that "model," or in this case porn actress should be in jail for looking too young, because that's something she can definitely change!

Not only that, but a leading underwear brand is using sexy imagery in their campaigns? They think that people can be sexy in their underwear?! What kind of a world do we live in, where expensive underwear can be sexy?!

In all seriousness, it's 2016, and people can be offended by anything, obviously. Perhaps, that orgy billboard was a bit much, but god forbid there is a billboard with a fully clothed model whose underwear is visible through her translucent dress! I don't think there's anything wrong with it. I'm sure Calvin Klein as a brand is tired of making the same ol' images of beautiful models in underwear, and looking for new ways to advertise. Is there nudity? No. Is consent the issue here? Absolutely not, the model's expression is that of content, or maybe indifference, but not that of shock after noticing a perv is taking an upskirt shot.

"But parents now have to have "the talk" with their kids!" - Blasphemy! Sexually educated kids in 2016?! Not in my house!

I'm don't see anything wrong with this campaign, and I will happily pay for CK underwear, because it's the most comfortable clothing my butt has ever felt.

Kolade Agunbiade's picture

You clearly have no idea what sexual education is.... And oh yh... Screw parents and their dumb kids who are not sexually educated... Who cares. Pls do not teach your children about sex, its ill advised.

Sebastian K's picture

I don't know if people are just jumping on a bandwagon when it comes to things like this, but people getting offended about ads is getting a little old already.

"If people can't control their own emotions, then they have to start trying to control other people's behaviour." John Cleese put it quite nicely.

Kolade Agunbiade's picture

Absolute Waste of Quote

This shit wouldn't fly today. which is saying alot...

Classic news tactic. Blur a bunch of images to make them seem offensive. You can blur pretty much any image and do that. I guess it was a slow news day.

Jacopo Pregnolato's picture

it reminds me of a benetton ad some years ago with various presidents and religious figures kissing.
They were forced to retire all the photos a few days after the release but the press talked about it for weeks, all for free. They use this technique every time
https://www.google.it/search?q=benetton+pubblicit%C3%A0+scandalo&espv=2&...

Kornel Kabaja's picture

I have a big issue with people using the word "porn" so freely in the context of sexy or suggestive ad campaigns. There are very many steps before reaching "porn" and I'd cut on the usage of that word. I'd change it for the actual thing it stands for and rewrite the sentence as:
"Obviously I don't believe that corporations should be allowed to use >revealing images of people having sex< to advertise their businesses publicly but this argument never seems to end."

Kolade Agunbiade's picture

I believe "erotic" is what you're looking for.

Kornel Kabaja's picture

I'm not the one looking for words, I know it's erotic and/or sexy/cheeky/tempting/suggestive - but absolutely not porn.

Leigh Smith's picture

"feels as though its not asking the consent" - what? The damn ad says " I flash in my...". Pretty sure flashing is the choice of the flasher. People just love to make up shit to bitch about! If you want to complain that the ad is distasteful for flashing the camera, fine. But don't make this about rape culture.

Nick Viton's picture

Calvin Klein already did this in the 90s. It's a recycled marketing campaign.

https://img.buzzfeed.com/buzzfeed-static/static/enhanced/webdr05/2013/3/...

Jason Lorette's picture

The fact that people are freaking out over this...is 'exactly' what CK was counting on...free marketing. Seriously, how is this worse than literally 'any' Victoria Secret ad ever?

Kolade Agunbiade's picture

You guys should stop acting like it is the cleanest of ads.... You don't have to be prude to look at this as controversial or immoral as most of the other comments assume.

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