Calvin Klein’s controversial underwear Ad campaigns

Calvin Klein has always made it in the fashion headlines for its controversial ad campaigns since 1981. In the year 1981, Calvin Klein picturised 15 year old Brook Shields asking “You wanna know what comes between me and my Calvins? Nothing”. Topless Kate Moss with Mark Wahlberg in the year 1992 and then Eva Mendes with the Fifty Shades of Grey actor Jamie Dornan posing provocatively caused a media storm, giving rise to similar criticism. (Milligan, 2016)

Its latest ad campaign with Kendell Jenner has been very controversial because of the erotic poses (Alexander, 2016). The ad has drawn great attention amongst youth but is questioned by a lot of people about the motive of the brand. Unfortunately, this has become a trend and a lot of brands have used this for seeking attention and creating a buzz in the industry. What makes it more offending is the picturisation of these celebrities who actually have a very strong influence on the youth of the country. The younger generation tries to idolise them and bring it in their personality. Kendell Jenner squeezing a grapefruit is depicting a women’s vagina in her hand. The image above shows an upskirt shot of a Danish model Klara Kristin, who has actually defended the campaign on Instagram by saying All this discussion about it makes me think about how alienated and scared some people are to the female human body. Be and love yourself and your sexuality #girlpower.” (Cosmopolitan, 2016)

ck ad ck underwear

However, this has been a generally accepted view of the campaign. What the review fails to explain is the actual point of view of the advert. The pictures are no doubt disturbing, and youth culture freaking out adults is not a new thing. There’s a long custom of notices utilizing meagrely clad ladies to offer things, and it’s anything but difficult to see why somebody could see the picture of Kristin and think about her as a powerless lady who’s being sexualised without wanting to, for the delight of a male look. Yet, what objectors don’t comprehend is that Calvin Klein made the advertisement with the presumption that its client — the youthful, web raised era — doesn’t see the world like that. CK brand honchos realize that their clients will perceive the hash-labelled selfie talk; the cosy, crude picture style; the stars in the promotions as advanced associates (if not IRL peers), and comprehend that Kristin is a woman who has complete control over the picture she’s making.

One cannot deny the fact that Calvin Klein’s underwear campaign with Justin Beiber was a great success and Justin looked way sexy in the advert. The powerful campaign with those drum beats makes it even more influential.

(CalvinKlein, 2015)

Well, it’s not just the female models getting in trouble because of the Calvin Klein campaigns. Justin Bieber too got into controversy because of his sexually provocative picture wearing CK underwear.


The latest ad campaign by Calvin Klein called ‘Iron Strength’ in 2016 features models Kendall Jenner and Mitchell Slaggert, as well as martial artist Julian Schneyder. The campaign very assertively conveys the message “Together we are stronger than we could ever be alone,” which totally justifies the idea behind the advert. The iron strength is symbolic of the Iron Strength undies.

(CalvinKlein, 2016)

Another surprising news is that the Calvin Klein logo has got all the new look. It’s now presented in all caps. However, the text style and spacing has been changed too. The brand debuted the new check on Instagram, taking note of that as “a return to the spirit of the original” and “an acknowledgement of the founder and foundations of the fashion house”. (Munzenrieder, 2017)


Source – (Munzenrieder, 2017)


Alexander, E., 2016. Kendall Jenner’s Calvin Klein campaign is NSFW. [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 01 August 2016].

CalvinKlein, 2015. Justin Bieber – Calvin Klein Underwear Spring 2015. [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 16 February 2017].

CalvinKlein, 2016. Calvin Klein Underwear – Iron Strength Spring 2016. [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 16 February 2017].

Cosmopolitan, 2016. The Model in That Controversial “Upskirt” Ad Says She Loves the Photo. [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 16 February 2017].

Milligan, L., 2016. Calvin Model Defends Up-Skirt Shot. [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 27 August 2016].

Munzenrieder, K., 2017. Calvin Klein Unveils a New Logo In Preparation for Raf Simons Debut. [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 16 February 2017].



About the author: Shweta

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