I recently came across this compilation of Calvin Klein ads that originally aired in 1995. I’ll have to date myself by saying that I vividly remember being in junior high and watching these ads, not really understanding what all the hoopla was about. Now honestly, I got the 70’s wood paneling scratchy porn vibe (my first porn encounters were of that variety) but aside from that, in response to the “controversy”, I remember thinking that people just needed to relax, afterall it was just a stupid commercial.
However watching these ads as an adult, I now fully understand why their was such an uproar. It has nothing to do with the pornesque vibe in my mind, it is completely revolving around the pedophilic and unseen narrator/cameraman. Hearing the way he speaks to these young boys and girls really is extremely creepy, and though it is a commercial, I cringe at the thought of what happened after the camera was shut off.
I can only imagine what the peeps at CK were thinking when they okayed this marketing campaign. Obviously they intended to cause some controversy, as had been the case with prior campaigns, but this by NO means sells jeans! By connoting that a creepy man with a camera would pay you attention if you rocked CK jeans, it actually makes me NEVER want wear CK jeans!
I mean i’ve tried to wrap my mind around this, and aside from molestation is cool and desirable, I just don’t get it. And needless to say nor did America, as these ads were quickly pulled after hitting the airwaves. I give them credit for thinking outside of the box, but not if said box is filled with porn and inside the basement of Uncle Chester’s House.
Ultimately though, this is just a reminder of how perspective changes as one ages. It is always interesting to be confronted with specific imagery as an adult that can be immediately plucked from your youth. Yet, more specifically, how your reaction and interpretation to said imagery differs now than it did then.
p.s check out a young bijou phillips at 2:02