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Calvin Klein Study Case

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Calvin Klein is a global lifestyle brand that exemplifies bold, progressive ideals and a seductive, and often minimal, aesthetic (Pvh.com, 2015).  Calvin Klein’s marketing strategy from the get go as always been to use provocative imagery and striking designs to awaken the senses. It uses its global 360 campaigns to engage its customers. Calvin Klein was founded in 1968 by Calvin Klein and his business partner Barry Schwartz, since then they have built an empire through its ground-breaking designs. Calvin Klein believes in a culture that supports the discovery of new ideas where they are able to inspire passion within its 10, 000 workers. Calvin is globally known and is sold in over 110 countries. Calvin’s operations are divided into two separate businesses: one of which is sales through its dress furnishings and men sportswear and its 115 retail stores (Vault, 2015). Whilst the second is its licensing that makes a great amount of money as it is able to manage its licensing agreements with other businesses. Calvin has expanded its ideas as they have also launched home furnishings: Calvin Klein and the curator collection by Calvin Klein Home.

The ethical issue of sexualized advertisements is seen within Calvin Klein. Although Calvin Klein is so successfully known around the world it has had some troubles with its ad campaigns. In 2015, Calvin Klein introduced a new ad that focused on sexting. It was one of the most controversial ad campaigns that was introduced as it is an ethical issue that instils a mindset of what young adults believe to be correct and also the issue of “sex sells”. The campaign was shot my Mario Sorrenti and according to the release from the label, it was a “sociological experiment turned fashion campaign” and provide “an editorial narrative of how a modern generation uniquely approaches sexual connection in a digital world” (Klein and Klein, 2015).  This is an issue as all advertising could be made ethical and non-provocative as young adults are influenced by media and what is projected onto its ads. Businesses such as Calvin Klein believe what is best for the business and what is ethical is not commonly exclusive. The dilemma that is faced by the customers on whether or not to support a company which believes that sexting ads is the best way to advertise products of a clothing store.  Although Calvin Klein still supports its campaign, Melisa Goldie the CMO of Calvin Klein says it’s all about how people communicate today and attracting the target market with “conversation through provocation” (Nudd and Nudd, 2015). The ethical issue of sexualized advertising is a major problem in the media as businesses believe that “sex sells” is the only way that a profit can be made for the business.

The stakeholders that exist within ethical issue of sexualized advertisements is the business itself, consumers, the general public and models that are involved in the campaign. Calvin Klein is a major stakeholder for the marketing techniques that it uses. Although it is known for its provocative images and campaigns, it still received major criticism for the ad with some saying not only are the ads “unethical, they may not even be effective” (Hagenbuch, 2015). This can be true to a certain extent but in a study from Texas A&M International University in 2010 although did find that people were more likely to remember commercials that had sexual or violent content but this did not mean that they were more likely to make a purchase of that particular product. This is supported by a more recent study from Ohio University in 2015 that any sex or violence in ads were more memorable but it deterred individuals from purchasing the product. (Hagenbuch, 2015).  For the customer, they want to find a product that suits them but also that its advertised properly and ethically.Customers also want to be purchasing from a highly reputable business that follows laws. If a business portrays an unethical image such as a campaign that is sexualized and with sexting in the ads. The general public who are not consumers of Calvin Klein but only look around and browse are also a stake holder. They are the one ones who decide if they are going to buy the clothes from Calvin Klein. If they see sexualized advertisements with sexting on the ad then the reputation of the business has been lost and they have not made a sale. The general public believes for advertisements to be ethical as it is important for the businesses reputation. The final stakeholder are the models that are pictured in the images. With such a sexualized image, it could take a toll of the job of the model as they could lose their personal reputation. Although it is a job and it is something that they need to do so that they can receive money, by choosing a job like a sexualized campaign which is controversial then they can lose future jobs as they are the face of the campaign.  The decision by the models and the business that are made are unethical as they agree to be a part of the provocative sexualized campaign.



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