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Calvin Klein recruited Justin Bieber, Kendall Jenner, and a fleet of musicians and artists for its spring campaign, with ads that asked them to fill in the blank Mad Libs-style for the statement "I __ in #mycalvins."
Two of those ads were pasted on a gigantic NYC billboard and the juxtaposition of the two statements and imagery makes you wonder how this got the greenlight.
The image on the left shows an almost up-skirt shot of actor Klara Kristin along with the words, "I seduce in #mycalvins," while rapper Fetty Wap is shown portrait-style with the statement, "I make money in #mycalvins."
Now the CEO of a rival lingerie company, ThirdLove, is calling out Calvin Klein for the billboard's sexist message. Heidi Zak started a petition today to take the billboard down.
"The billboard propagates an archaic and offensive gender stereotype that women are nothing more than sexual objects, while men are the breadwinners. Calvin Klein has a vast assortment of content for this campaign, so we find it appalling that the company chose to put these two images side by side in one of the most highly visible intersections in the country," Zak wrote in the petition. "Is the message of Calvin Klein that women are only good for seduction? Are we stuck in the 1950s? Are these the values of the Calvin Klein brand?"
The company also created a video with reactions from New Yorkers to the CK billboard. Here are a few of those statements:
"I think that it conforms to really unfortunate stereotypes and reinforces them."
"It’s clear they’re portraying a young woman with less clothing on, and for the male it’s just his face and I don’t think that’s right."
"It’s terrible and it’s offensive. I’m not happy about it and I won’t give Calvin Klein my money."
ThirdLove also wrote a letter to Calvin Klein's CEO over the billboard; the company tells Racked that CK hasn't written back yet. Racked reached out to Calvin Klein about the billboard and the petition.
Update: Here's a statement on the billboard that Calvin Klein, Inc sent to Racked:
This billboard was taken down overnight as part of the planned rotation of our Spring 2016 advertising campaign. We take all of our consumers’ concerns seriously and as a global brand, we promote gender equality and the breakdown of gender stereotypes across the world. Our global advertising campaign images feature many different musicians, artists and models wearing all of our product categories, including our underwear products, sharing how they feel about and live in their Calvins.