Calvin Klein's Scandalous Advertising - Morality vs Money

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Case Details:

Case Code : MKTG084
Case Length : 13 Pages
Period : 1974-2003
Pub Date : 2004
Teaching Note :Not Available
Organization : Calvin Klein
Industry : Fashion
Countries : USA

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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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Calvin Klein - The Making of the Empire

Calvin Richard Klein (Klein) was born in New York, US in November 1942 to a Hungarian father (Leo Klein) and an Austrian mother (Flore Stern). He was the second of three children.

The young Klein was introduced to the world of garments and tailoring by his maternal grandmother, who was a seamstress with her own tailoring business. The fact that Flore Stern was a fashion-conscious shopper too helped Klein while he taught himself the art of sketching and sewing clothes.

He joined the High School of Industrial Art to major in fashion illustration. Thereafter, he joined the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), and simultaneously studied the latest trends in the US fashion designing business. He was particularly inspired by designer Claire McCardell, from whom he picked up the basic ideas for his unique, minimalist designing style.

He took a semester break from FIT and entered the fashion world as a copyboy with a trade magazine Women's Wear Daily. Returning to FIT after the break, Klein graduated in January 1963. His first job was designing dresses for a small company at $55 a week...

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