Sam Scrouther
Jul 8, 2016

CK global fall campaign has a few nods to Asia

Newly launched campaign features some Asian faces. Will it make a difference for the brand in the region?

Hong Kong artist G.E.M., in her Calvins
Hong Kong artist G.E.M., in her Calvins

Calvin Klein's fall 2016 campaign, created in-house in New York and launched worldwide on Wednesday, takes a holistic approach to promoting the Calvin Klein brand, presenting all its product lines through an eclectic mix of visual imagery and talent. 

Photographed by Tyrone Lebon, the campaign's print and digital ads feature 43 figures from various career backgrounds—including social-media personalities, actors, 'street-cast' models and athletes. These include a few Asian faces, such as Hong Kong singer/songwriter G.E.M., British-Japanese model/actress/ballerina Sonoya Mizuno and South Korean musical artist Keith Ape.  

Sonoya Mizuno and G.E.M.

The campaign also features the return of Kate Moss, as well as upcoming model Bella Hadid, singer-songwriter Frank Ocean, and fashion industry veteran and former US Vogue creative director Grace Coddington.

Calvin Klein will be running digital and video content throughout the fall season that began with a 24-hour integrated video takeover on its US site. The content includes interviews, behind-the-scenes material and 'social-media moments', where the campaign cast can share personal stories with global audiences.

“Through our fall 2016 global campaign, we push the boundaries of traditional advertising with our content and our cast,” Melisa Goldie, chief marketing officer for Calvin Klein, told Campaign Asia-Pacific. “We are inviting the consumer into our world to experience personal storytelling that no other brand can offer them. Our approach is digital-first, video-led and socially powered, providing our audience with an authentic and intimate experience that they can consume and share.”

Calvin Klein is also making use of its various social-media channels, as it continues with its popular ‘I _____ in #mycalvins’ social-media campaign, which encourages consumers to post photos of themselves using the hashtag. The company has claimed the interactive campaign establishes real-time connections with core consumers while creating thousands of brand evangelists.

Campaign Asia-Pacific comments: Clearly Calvin Klein is continuing its advertising push toward the younger generations, with its employment of many young people, such as American Little League Baseball pitcher Mo’ne Davis, 19-year-old indie actor Antoine-Olivier Pilon and 21-year-old internet personality Cameron Dallas—who is seen 'oversharing' (below).

Cameron Dallas and Antoine-Olivier Pilon

The campaign also continues Calvin Klein’s long-enduring reliance on youth-centric, sexually charged themes, notably last year’s fall campaign that focused on the culture of sexting and hookups and the ‘I _____ in #mycalvins’ campaign from spring this year. The latter included provocative and controversial images, such as this ‘I flash in #mycalvins’ image, which looked straight up the dress of model Klara Kristin, drawing negative attention from viewers who saw the ad as disturbing and inappropriate. 

Anna Ewers and Zoë Kravitz

Although this fall’s campaign takes a slightly toned down approach, provocative positions and seductive imagery are still employed, as exemplified by Anna Ewers and Zoë Kravitz (above). Both photographs are reminiscent of previous suggestive Calvin Klein advertisements, dating all the way back to Brooke Shields.

Specifically in Asia, CMO Goldie has said that to target consumers in the region, Calvin Klein does a significant amount of high-impact outdoor advertising in key cities such as Hong Kong, Beijing, Seoul and Bangkok. It also often includes cinema in the media mix, which is typically not done in other regions.

Additionally, Goldie said Calvin Klein will be looking to grow its travel retail business. “Asia is a key region for that growth, so we continue to increase our presence in Asia’s airports” said Goldie.

Goldie said that Calvin Klein has “developed a global strategy that layers in local synergies”, where the campaign and its brand messaging are designed to be the same for consumers wherever they are in the world.

Yet generally, in Asian markets, the brand's efforts to draw awareness to all its product lines have not stopped Asian consumers from seeing CK mainly as a jeans and underwear brand. Out of 21 Calvin Klein stores in Hong Kong, for example, only four sell products other than jeans and underwear.

If Calvin Klein wants to be a larger contender in the already saturated apparel market in Asia, it will take a bit more than just artistic photographs and a few Asian celebrities thrown into the campaign mix.


Editorial: Calvin Klein
Images: Tyrone Lebon
Video: Tyrone Lebon

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