CK ONE CAMPAIGN: THE GENDERLESS SCENT WILL HAVE SEXLESS ADS
Byline: Soren Larson
NEW YORK--Since his gender-blending CK One fragrance represents a break from tradition, Calvin Klein set out to bend the rules with the product's advertising as well. "From the start, the whole concept was very different, so it makes sense that we not use the traditional type of fragrance advertising," the designer said. "I think it will be controversial, because it's not what people are used to seeing." CK One, which will be shipped to 2,200 department store doors early next month, is meant to be a "shared fragrance," according to Klein. It is purportedly the first major scent to be aimed at men and women. In the advertising, which will break in September magazines, Klein decided to show knots of people chatting, with various degrees of intensity, rather than go with his typical sexually charged scenes featuring one, two or more people. "The rule in fragrance advertising has been that you show a couple, in a passionate kiss, in perfect light," said Neil Kraft, senior vice president of advertising at CRK, Klein's in-house agency. "It always features very specific people who are perfectly beautiful. But instead of that, we decided to use a group of real-looking people." "The whole point of the shared fragrance is that it's 'more than just for me,"' said Klein. "We can achieve this message by using a group rather than an individual." The designer's licensee, Calvin Klein Cosmetics, is also breaking new ground with the budget for the CK One campaign. "We are an advertising-driven company," said Paulanne Mancuso, who became the company's president on Monday, when she succeeded Kim Delsing, who went to Elizabeth Arden. Mancuso, who was executive vice president, has been with Klein for almost 11 years. "With this fragrance," she continued, "we know we have to get across an unusual message, so we're going for a bigger spend than with any launch we've done." Mancuso declined to discuss specific numbers, but according to industry estimates, Calvin Klein Cosmetics is spending at least $15 million on advertising in support of CK One. "We're out to capture existing customers, but also broaden the consumer base," she added. Mancuso said that during the CK One launch period of September through December, the company will spend 30 percent more than it did on the introductions of Klein's Escape or Escape for Men, his last two fragrances. She noted that those items had longer launch periods, since their initial shipments were made in July. The company is reportedly looking for a fall volume of around $20 million at wholesale with the scent. The advertising, shot by Steven Meisel, is a series of black and white scenarios, to be used in both print and TV. In the shots, groups of casually dressed men and women, most of them in their 20s, are shown against a white background, talking with one another in a mostly animated fashion. What they are saying is unclear. "We'll have around 10 different photos that will be rotating in the print campaign," said Katz. While the bulk of the models are unknowns, Kate Moss and Donovan Leitch are recognizable. The others were culled from an open casting. "We cast a lot of people, and they look real," said Klein. "One person that stands out is Kate Moss, but she fits right in with the concept. We wanted people that look modern, hip and young, but there are also some women in their 40s. "This is not necessarily about Generation X, but it's inspired by them," he added. "Young people are about a certain plainness and naturalness. That's reflected in the advertising; these people aren't wearing any makeup, their hair hasn't been done." The print campaign will kick off with eight-page inserts in the September editions of Seventeen, Vanity Fair, Rolling Stone, Glamour, Vogue, Allure, Details, Men's Health and Mirabella. The front and back of the insert will feature a bottle shot; the last page offers customers a fragrance sample when they visit stores. The campaign will continue with spreads, some with attached scented strips, in the October, November and December issues of more than 30 magazines, Mancuso said. She said more than 30 million strips will be distributed. "We wanted to move beyond the core books," she added, noting CK One will be advertised in Vibe, Tower Pulse and Wired, publications in which Klein's campaigns have not appeared before. The fragrance will also be advertised in college publications and will be featured on kiosks, bus stops and building walls. The TV commercials, Meisel's first directing effort, will feature the same imagery as the print campaign, along with a sound track of random conversation and snippets of music. During the first flight, which will begin on Sept. 26 and last two weeks, the commercial will appear on the three major networks, as well as MTV and Fox. The TV spot will air again for another week in December. "I always get a nervous excitement when I don't know how something is going to be received," said Klein. "This one is going to be a love-hate thing. But either way, we're going to get a reaction." He concluded, "The bottom line is, I really want the young generation to look at this and identify with it."
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