How Fashion Brands Like Calvin Klein Can Use Social Insights to Revamp Classic Campaigns

Known for their timeless pieces, Calvin Klein has become a household name in the fashion industry. Calvin Klein’s advertising efforts have been divisive, first shocking audiences during the early 80s with naming a then 15 year old Brooke Shields the face of its denim line, and later creating the iconic underwear campaign with fashion model Kate Moss, paired with Bostonian local, Mark Wahlberg.
For Calvin Klein, the 80s and 90s seemed to be the brand’s advertising prime.
Over 10 years later, conversations regarding the historical campaign successes still linger on social. Since January 2012, a major part of the discussion on both Twitter and Facebook regarding Calvin Klein appear to be the bittersweet taste of nostalgia, longing for classic Calvin.
Marky Mark Tweet Blog
We took to Crimson’s platform to breakdown the conversation on social:
OM 2012-2014 CK
By further analyzing the conversation on social, we can see that the majority of conversation from 2012 to 2014 is referring to a previous time for the brand, with consumers reminiscing on past advertisements and styles. Current conversation for the brand is minimal, making up only 33% of the conversation.
While the majority of social seemed to be nostalgic for the past, starting in February 2014, Calvin Klein started to make an effort to refresh their brand identity by introducing the #mycalvins hashtag. This campaign effort was well received over social, driving a whopping 44% of Calvin Klein’s twitter discussion since January 2014.
But Calvin Klein didn’t stop changing their social strategy. In January of 2015, the brand made the bold move to introduce Justin Bieber to their now infamous #mycalvins underwear campaign, which, to no surprise, skyrocketed their advertising marketshare over social. In addition to Bieber, models such as Lottie Moss, Lara Stone and Cameron Dallas were also brought into the fold of CK’s #mycalvins. While the hashtag remained the same throughout the year, CK’s campaign started to make an interactive shift, with CK tacking on the confident slogan of “I __ in #mycalvins” where influencers such as Kendall Jenner, or Kendrick Lamar report “I stand tall in #mycalvins” or “I focus in #mycalvins” . This interactive campaign spread over social, inviting not only high profile celebrities but also consumers alike to participate and engage with the brand’s conversation through top social channels.
So how did this campaign affect the brand identity overall?
From the data, we can see that since January 2015, #mycalvins campaign has risen to 28% of the conversation, leading behind Justin Bieber’s massive influx of traffic in the conversation on social. It also becomes apparent that after 2014, mentions of the 80s and 90s have significantly decreased, shifting from 67% of the conversation to 13%.
Further examining Calvin Klein’s campaign with Crimson’s Affinities tool, it’s evident that after the #mycalvins campaign was introduced, there is not only an increase of volume on social regarding mentions of and participation in the campaign, but there also appears to be a massive shift in the demographic discussing the brand over social. Not only is the largest portion of the conversation now being generated by Gen Z, but, additionally, the profile of consumers appears to be that of an average consumer.
updated affinities for CK blog
So, what does this mean exactly, and why does it matter for Calvin Klein’s ad strategy?
Focusing on the audience interests through social insights, we can distinguish that prior to the hashtag launch in 2015, Affinities associated with Calvin Klein are that of a niche market, with topics such as “Luxury goods, “Coco Chanel”, and “New York Fashion Week”.  After #mycalvins was launched, their audience grew to include broader topics such as Usher, YouTube, Mexico and Snapchat. We can see that with their campaign, Calvin Klein successfully expanded their audience pool, widening the amount of people who could interact with and relate to the brand, particularly within a younger demographic.
Through social insights we can see how CK successfully used #mycalvins campaign to redirect, and addressed the focus of their brand. By interacting with consumers on social, Calvin Klein capitalized on market growth opportunities, expanding their demographic reach. Additionally, they were successful in bringing the brand into the present moment, and giving Calvin Klein a more relatable feel for millennials.
From #mycalvins, we can see the importance of brands using social data to measure and interpret the success of campaigns as their brand identity shifts and grows.
For additional insights into consumer behavior and campaign success in the retail industry, take a look at our case study regarding purchase intent within H&M and Alexander Wang’s collaborative campaign.

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