Thursday, October 28, 2010
Calvin Klein is up to their old tricks again
Thank goodness Australia has an advertising standards bureau with the power to ban offensive advertising. In this case Calvin Klein has done it again. This time the offending ad depicts what some might interpret as a woman being raped while one man stands by looking rather nonchalant. In the past CK has been called down for their Heroin Chic campaign featuring super model Kate Moss, and “kiddie porn” campaign that depicted what looked like underage models in sexually suggestive poses. Turns out, after a U.S. Justice Department investigation, those models were not underage, but you get the point, I think. So why do advertisers have to go to such extremes in order to gain our attention, and is it worth it from either a marketing point of view or from a societal perspective? I really enjoy much advertising, but sometimes campaigns like this really make me wonder. Maybe David Potter was correct way back in 1954 when he described advertising as an institution of abundance that, unlike some other institutions, lacked social responsibility. Although this is not the first ad campaign I’ve seen that depicts women in an intolerable situation, it doesn’t make it okay. I find the return to such a tired, old, and totally inappropriate advertising image, depressing. I hope Calvin Klein doesn’t try those ads out in the United States, although based on passed performance, I wouldn’t put it past them.