controversial marketing at its best…

February 1st, 2010

TheThinkMovement.com by j. sakiya sandifer

Any and all who are familiar with the Calvin Klein brand know that it’s not a stranger of creating very controversial advertisements. It seems as if anything goes as long as it has the CK logo on it…from what could’ve been interpreted as child pornography, to a straight to the point ménage à trois, to now this!

Of course I applaud the art director on this campaign because one can’t deny that it’s a very strong image that provokes thought which in turn definitely grabbed my attention…but once it had it, I was stuck on why?

Believing strongly in the power of imagery and that a picture says a thousand words, my mind raced to understand the intended message in this billboard advertisement AND more importantly how does it translate to someone eventually making a Calvin Klein purchase?

Pease share your thoughts on this one!

Sidebar: By no way am I being compensated for this…I’m just simply intrigued by the artistic expression in the advertisement.

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Entry Filed under: Art, Business, Think About It!


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  • 1. just-a-reader  |  February 7th, 2010 at 4:02 AM

    Guess I’ll take a stab at it : if you think the chocolate is looking delicious, when till we pun a wrapper on it, a CK wrapper that is.
    Anyway it did get my attention when I first saw it, but it doesn’t make me wanna buy CK clothing, just wonder why would someone advertise their clothing line by putting a naked man on a giant billboard. Can I buy abs like that over at CK or …? SMH

  • 2. Mo  |  February 14th, 2010 at 5:30 PM

    man – advertising is such dangerous territory. in one sense a really good ad can be almost exhilirating. like this one (admittedly i didnt really get it at first, but once it hit me – WOW).

    but theres a potentially ugly side to it too. ads as effective as this do not speak to your conscious mind, they speak to your subconscious. theres no dialogue, the average person can’t question the authenticity of the claims the advertisement makes, so in a deep way, we accept whatever the ad is telling us. its scary because we have to trust the ethics of the people who are trying to SELL something to us, which just doesnt make sense to me.

    but man – thats a powerful image

  • 3. Jermain  |  March 29th, 2010 at 2:51 PM

    I like this image. its dark, its clean and the composition of the 2 sides are well laid out… But once I read “controversial” it almost forced me into this mindset that I HAD to think wrongly about this image. It’s like had the word “controversial” not been associated with it then I would never have thought otherwise.

    When you put that word and the images together I instantly thought of the raw image of slavery and the progression to where a black man can now me in modern day society; a well dressed, suited man.

    But like I said, had “controversial” not been applied to it, then i would have never got to that conclusion.

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