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#MyCalvins: The Triumph of the Shill
Posted by richard | February 19, 2014

There’s something very 1995 about the latest digital marketing blitz from Calvin Klein Underwear, and something very 2014 too.

The old part? The new ‘Show Yours’ campaign invites customers to show off their iconic CK waistband in public. You know, like that time you got sent home from high school 15 years ago for violating the dress code.

The new part? CKU has invited celebrities and faux celebs to lead the charge with their own social media posts, showing how they “interpret” the now-commonplace practice of broadcasting your underwear choices. Yes, Calvin has found a way to monetize selfies.


The ‘Show Yours’ campaign kicked off today with a gallery of selfies on the CK brand site, featuring Miranda Kerr, Trey Songz and a lot of others who may or may not be ordinary people who are not getting paid for this.

CK is inviting customers to send in their own selfies with the hashtag #mycalvins for a chance get added to the gallery and mingle, in cyberspace at least, with the stars.

Of course, the brand knows there’s nothing new about showing off your Calvins. In fact, that’s the point — turning the ubiquitous practice of PDUs (public displays of underwear) into a marketing platform. There’s a whole lot of shilling going on here, but the genius of the campaign is that it’s unclear who are the shills; the only thing that’s certain is that YOU won’t get paid if you give Calvin the right to use your image to sell their product to your friends.


According to a press release, the ‘Show Yours’ campaign is “a multi-tiered initiative that maximizes the conversation around Calvin Klein Underwear by leveraging existing consumer behavior to show the iconic Calvin Klein waistband.”

The #mycalvins piece of this, the company adds, “is an image-driven initiative which simultaneously taps into the power of the pop culture ‘selfie’ phenomenon and the reach of key digital influencers.”


To get the ball rolling, CKU sent product samples from its new Dual Tone underwear collection to over 100 “global opinion leaders”, asking them to submit images and “curate the conversation” by posting their own social media mentions. The tribe of influencers includes numerous fashion bloggers (ie. Bryan Boy), pop stars (Fergie) and models (Poppy Delevingne, Liu Wen) who, collectively, have a social media reach of 250 million followers.

“This initiative was ultimately inspired by what we were already seeing from consumers on social media, so we wanted the actual campaign to not only celebrate that, but to actually be driven by it,” noted CK communications officer Malcolm Carfare.


It is worth pointing out that NO ONE in the current gallery of selfies on the new #mycalvins site has more than 8% body fat — it looks like the Olympics of six-packs.

Which raises the troubling question of what happens when CKU is flooded with selfies from ‘average’ Joes and Janes who don’t fit that mold, or whose Calvins don’t look like they’re fresh out of the box.

I don’t know about yours, but #mycalvins are three years old, a size XL, and the saggy waistband has folded over on itself. Uploading image now.

Posted in Lingerie News

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