Calvin Klein's Scandalous Advertising - Morality vs Money

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

Case Details:


Case Code : MKTG084 For delivery in electronic format: Rs. 400;
For delivery through courier (within India): Rs. 400 + Rs. 25 for Shipping & Handling Charges


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


The case deals with the controversial advertisement campaigns launched by the US-based fashion house Calvin Klein from the late-1970s to 2003.

It gives information about Calvin Klein, the designer's, evolution over the decades into a successful businessman.

The company's entry and success in the jeans, underwear and fragrance businesses is examined. The case then discusses the various Calvin Klein advertisements that angered business partners, religious leaders, family welfare groups, customers and a host of other factions for their excessively sexual content.

It critically analyzes two of the most controversial issues (the 1995 'kiddie porn' campaign and the 1999 advertisements for children's underwear), wherein the company was accused of sexually exploiting children. Finally, the case covers the events at Calvin Klein in the early 21st century, and points out the company's continuing focus on generating sales through erotic advertisements


• Understand the nature of the business fashion houses (such as Calvin Klein) operate in and the intense competition between them

• Analyze why companies resort to sensationalism while promoting their products/services

• Understand the moral, ethical, social, legal and financial implications of using excessive sexual content in mass media advertisements


  Page No.
Advertisements? OR Child Pornography? 1
Calvin Klein - The Making of the Empire 2
The Jeans Business and More 3
Controversial Advertisements - The Growth Mantra 4
Klein - The Sensationlism Trendsetter 5
Calvin Klein Gets Bolder and Bolder 6
A Few Arguments 9
Calvin Klien Circa 2003 - Old Dog, Old Tricks 10
Exhibits 12


Controversial, advertisement campaigns, launched, US, fashion house, Calvin Klein, 1970, 2003, designer's, evolution, successful businessman, entry, success, jeans, underwear, fragrance, advertisements, angered business, partners, religious leaders, family welfare groups, customers, sexual content, 1995 , kiddie porn, , 1999, sexually, exploiting children, generating sales, erotic advertisements

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