NEW YORK — Calvin Klein is going back to the beach.

This story first appeared in the February 28, 2003 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

After blanketing Panama City Beach, Fla., a year ago with images and marketing plugs for its CK Calvin Klein products, the company is doubling its efforts for 2003 with a multibrand campaign targeted at 500,000 college students heading to the resort for spring break festivities next month.

Following an impressive reaction to the grassroots marketing program last year, as well as the popularity of underwear model Travis Fimmel — who made personal appearances on the designer’s behalf — the company has expanded the branding program to include its own beach compound, an e-mail campaign and CK products placed in students’ hotel rooms.

“Last year’s spring break promotion was very well-attended and the response to our branding events and activities surpassed expectations,” said Kim Vernon, senior vice president of global advertising and communications. “This year’s challenge was to expand on the interaction with the target by adding branding and promotion, which we have achieved with stronger retail tie-ins, the unprecedented in-room branding, overall hotel connection and the e-mail communication post-spring break. CK brand products will be unavoidable, but integrated into a fun and value-added format.”

Starting Monday through March 29, Calvin Klein will host music, beach and night-club activities throughout Panama City Beach, which is the most highly attended spring break destination in North America. A CK Beach Oasis will also be created with thatched-roof huts and palm trees, as well as CK branded beach furniture, where students can “relax, recover and recline” with body spritzers, a massage therapist and sound-canceling headphones. Promotions such as Calvin Klein-sponsored contests (think a quick-change race between two students to change into each others’ swimsuits) and a CK Jeans VIP room at the Spinnaker night club will also be anniversaried.

CRK Advertising, Calvin Klein’s in-house agency, has also created mirror decals, travel kits featuring the Crave fragrance and CK-branded doorknob hangers (reading “crashed,” “do not disturb,” “making waves,” or “at the beach”) that will be placed in the 383 guest rooms of the Sun Spree Resort.

As a follow-up, CK staff will be collecting student’s e-mail addresses for a post-spring-break promotion tied to department stores across the U.S. The promotion, coordinated with the Boston-based youth marketing firm Mr. Youth, will include placements for CK Calvin Klein Jeans, Calvin Klein Underwear, Crave and CK One fragrances, CK swimwear, eyewear, watches and socks, and Calvin Klein women’s accessories.

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