Tuesday, June 16, 2009
The clever ad guys at designer Calvin Klein are at it again, stirring the blood of America with a controversial new campaign. Near nudity isn't enough. Implied sweaty sex isn't enough. Implied sweaty gay sex isn't enough. Now we've moved into implied sweaty group bisexual sex.
Maybe this wouldn't be so conversation-inspiring if the ad was buried in the latest issue of Cosmo or Vanity Fair. But CK has taken over the side of a building in New York City with a 50-foot billboard of the steamy foursome. (What? You don't think the hottie on the floor is gonna be left out of the action, do you?)
"It's soft pornography is what it is," Laurie Baranowski, a tourist in New York, told FoxNews.com. "I don't think that just because you put Calvin Klein's name on it makes it acceptable. It's a beautiful picture, but I don't think that that's the place for it."
Aaand ... I agree with her. Not about the "soft pornography" part, but the "I don't think that's the place for it" part. But am I disgusted and morally outraged? Nah. This is what the company does -- they're provocateurs.
I took a quick trip down CK ad lane, and the images were borderline NSFW. Lots of pics like this one: genetically blessed, touchy-feely young models, barely clad in snug denim and spritzed with something to make them look sticky and sweaty and sexy as all get-out. The only thing different about this campaign is the number of writhing bodies. (This billboard pic is actually part of a series. Think this is freaky? There's an image with five people breathing heavy.)
I think what really gets to people is what the image implies. The three guys and one chick look like they're all about to get it on. As in, there aren't enough women to go around, and that's not a problem. Put that on a billboard and not only may some parents have to explain the birds and the bees, but why some boy bees might like other boy bees instead of the queen.
But here's the thing. We all know that Calvin Klein is doing this to get publicity, to get people talking. The reality is, while it's a beautiful and erotic photo, everyone in it, and the photographer who took it, were paid to create a fantasy. The only power it has is what we give it. If you don't freak out, your kids won't freak out. As for such an image contributing to the oversexing of our culture, one could argue that a 50-foot billboard of topless, entwined pretty people could actually desensitize passers-by to the beauty and sensuality of the human form. Not me, mind you -- I would smile every time I passed it, and I don't even wear Calvin Klein jeans.
What do you think? Are you offended by the new campaign?