Thursday, 18 June 2009

Racy Calvin Klein Jeans ad sparks controversy

A giant 50-foot-tall Calvin Klein billboard showing two young men and a young woman tangled up semi-naked sparks controversy in the United States.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK, USA (JUNE 17, 2009) REUTERS-
No stranger to controversy, Calvin Klein continues to shock with his latest advertising campaign.
The steamy jeans ad is on a giant billboard in New York's Soho neighborhood, and depicts a topless teenage girl lying on a bare-chested male whose hands are almost down the backside of her pants, while she is kissing another young man. The image suggests that the moment could turn into a foursome, with another young man lying close by.

The American Decency Association is calling the ad "degrading" and is urging consumers to call Calvin Klein's CEO and complain.

The advertisement is certainly drawing the eyes of onlookers, and some New Yorkers think it is too racy.

Jon Rose who was walking down the street with his 11-year-old daughter, says he thinks the ad goes too far.

"I was thinking there's a fine line between sexy and obscene and I think they've crossed it. I'm not a prude but it's not appealing to me."

While some agree, New Yorker Rod Brooks, says he loves the advertisement and the emotions it evokes.

"I mean it's provocative that's for sure. I love it, personally. I love the sensuality of the ad, I love it. It's making you look and that's the point of the ad, I don't know if it's making you want to buy jeans though - but it's definitely making you want to have a threesome."

Risque ads have gotten Calvin Klein attention in the past. In 1981, a teenage Brooke Shields announced "You wanna know what comes between me and my Calvins? Nothing." An underwear ad featuring teens and children also came under fire.

Advertising Age reporter Natalie Zmuda says whether it's good or bad, attention may be just what the company is hoping for.

"In this type of economy they have said that jeans and underwear are the areas where they are going to be able to pull in consumers because it's an accessible price point."

Zmuda added, "Also interesting to note, they have a new denim line hitting stores in July called Calvin Klein Jeans Body so ... they've got a new line coming out, so they are definitely looking for some buzz around jeans right now."

The image in the ad is a still shot taken from a racy video advertisement posted on Calvin Klein's website. The company has not responded to an inquiry made by Reuters TV.