Calvin Klein surely knew its new ad campaign would ruffle some feathers, which is probably why it's choosing to weather the storm of online outrage rather than back down on its new creative.
While most of the buzz and backlash has been around an upskirt shot of 23-year-old Danish actress Klara Kristin, several of the campaign's new images (shot by millennial photography phenom Harley Weir) are sexually charged:
For now, all the images remain on Instagram and other social media channels, where they've generated thousands of comments—mostly negative. The brand has declined to respond to journalists covering the controversy or to consumers posting their grievances on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
@CalvinKlein awful ad. Your concept looks predatory. This "upskirt" photo invites men to do this to women. Disrespectful.
— Lexistential (@lexistential) May 11, 2016
I get that @CalvinKlein likes to "go there", push the envelope and show too much skin but this is just creepy and too far. Not ok in my book
— Jenna (@Jenna4Trump) May 11, 2016
@CalvinKlein Geez – pushing the limits of fashion does not have to include soft porn.
— Bobby Kaps (@Adventurehog76) May 11, 2016
Calvin Klein also continues its long tradition of sparking controversy with outdoor executions of its ads with this Justin Bieber billboard in New York:
— Racked NY (@rackedny) 9 May 2016
If the goal of the campaign was to boost the brand back into daily conversation and consternation, it's probably being seen by Calvin Klein as a massive success. Much of the backlash has been coming from the web's more conservative corners, like Breitbart.com, FoxNews.com and TheBlaze, which could give the brand a counterbalance lift among young shoppers looking to poke a finger in the establishment's eye.
However, the upskirt image specifically might not sit well with those who feel it tacitly encourages peeping-tom photography.
Here's Adweek staff writer Kristina Monllos discussing the ad on ABC's Nightline last night: