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The case deals with the controversial advertisement campaigns launched by the USbased fashion house Calvin Klein from the late1970s to 2003. It gives information about Calvin Klein, the designer's, evolution over the decades into a successful businessman. The company's entry and success in the jeans, underwear and fragrance businesses is examined. The case then discusses the various Calvin Klein advertisements that angered business partners, religious leaders, family welfare groups, customers and a host of other factions for their excessively sexual content. It critically analyzes two of the most controversial issues (the 1995 'kiddie porn' campaign and the 1999 advertisements for children's underwear), wherein the company was accused of sexually exploiting children. Finally, the case covers the events at Calvin Klein in the early 21st century, and points out the company's continuing focus on generating sales through erotic advertisements

Understand the nature of the business fashion houses (such as Calvin Klein) operate in and the intense competition between them Analyze why companies resort to sensationalism while promoting their products/services Understand the moral, ethical, social, legal and financial implications of using excessive sexual content in mass media advertisements
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Calvin Klein's Scandalous Advertising Morality vs Money

Case Details Case Intro 1 Case Intro 2 Excerpts

<< Previous "Jeans are about sex."1 - Calvin Klein, in September 1991.

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Case Details:

Case Code : MKTG084

"Only soulless corporations such as Calvin Klein, unendowed with

social responsibility or morals, are allowed to degrade our freedom and humans rights to make a buck." - A Chicago Sun Times quote as available on www.americandecency.org. "The furor caused by Calvin Klein's 1995 jeans campaign, featuring childlike models, most probably is unrivaled in American advertising history." - 'Ad Agency Employees Give Views on Calvin Klein, Benetton Ads,' Marketing News, September 23, 1996.
Advertisements? OR Child Pornography?

Case Length : 13 Pages Period : 1974-2003 Pub Date : 2004 Teaching Note :Available (3 Pages) Organization : Calvin Klein Industry : Fashion Countries : USA

To download Calvin Klein's Scandalous Advertising - Morality vs Money case study (Case Code: MKTG084) click on the button below, and select the case from the list of available cases:

Since its inception, the global fashion industry has been subject to moral and ethical controversies. This is because the diverse sociocultural norms in different parts of the world make it difficult to define the thin line between fashion and vulgarity. However, there have been times when even the most liberal fashion aficionado was shocked by certain advertisements. The 1995 controversy surrounding one of the world's most popular fashion labels, Calvin Klein, is the perfect example of one such advertisement campaign. This campaign generated unprecedented outrage among the entire United States (US) for its alleged use of youngsters in a sexually provocative manner. Termed as 'kiddie porn' (pornography featuring children), this multi-media campaign comprised print and television commercials that were indeed very scandalous. They featured very young teenage boys and girls, who were portrayed as if being auditioned for a performance in an adult movie. The advertisements began appearing in print, electronic and

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outdoor media (the YM magazine, music channel MTV and buses for instance) in July 1995 (Refer Exhibit I for the advertisements). Objections arose against the advertisements throughout the US. Parents, retailing companies (such as Dayton Hudson Corp.) and many child welfare groups (notably, the American Family Association) and religious groups voiced their anger against Calvin Klein.

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Please note: The US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) launched a This case study was compiled from published probe against Calvin Klein in sources, and is intended to be used as a basis August 1995 to check whether the for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective company had broken any laws. Calvin Klein's Scandalous Advertising - Morality vs Money

handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

Case Details Case Intro 1 Case Intro 2 Excerpts

<< Previous Advertisements? OR Child Pornography? Contd... Calvin Klein sources meanwhile denied that any laws had been violated and claimed that the models used in the campaign were all above 18 (some reportedly as old as 29 years). There was nothing unusual about these developments as far as this fashion label was concerned since its advertising history was fraught with numerous such shocking campaigns. Beginning with a campaign featuring Hollywood actress/model, Brooke Shields in 1978, Calvin Klein's advertisements had become synonymous with sex and eroticism. Over the decades, the label continually played along the fashion/obscenity line to cash in on the fact that the controversies and the brand's 'rebel' image successfully lured the customers.

Analysts said that Calvin Klein had come to be known as a company that liked to generate sales through scandals and featured nudity on a regular basis in its advertisements. However, most of them seemed to agree that this time around, the company had gone too far.

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