"Calvin Klein used to be raw. In the ’90s the brand was seductive, uncensored, and with the help of a topless Kate Moss, the essence of cool".
In 1993 Kate Moss met with Calvin Klein. At that time the brand was in a crisis and Kate was not famous. Calvin Klein loved the fact that Kate was plain, real and beautiful. They wanted her to be shot shirtless, although she had small breasts. She was always shot in black-and-white, sometimes nude, sometimes in a black tank and cotton underwear. Her stark, fragile beauty amplified by lank hair and little makeup. Fabien Baron, the creative director launched what was defined as the heroin chic look. In a culture scared of Aids the sex approach of the campaign was very risky, but somehow it actually worked. The campaign brought the finances of Calvin Klein back to profit and also launched Kate's career. She was soon the sole face of Calvin Klein jeans, underwear and fragrance.
Today we know that Kate was closing the door of the excessiveness of the 80's. So did the fragrance the brand was about to launch - CK ONE EDT.
CK ONE EDT was designed a fragrance that embodied, in its flat little screw- top bottle, the disaffected, sexually ambivalent grunge youth of the moment. CK ONE EDT, with its unconventional black-and-white advertisements filled with moping, androgynous models, was arguably the most perfectly tailored fragrance ever pitched to one market, breaking industry rules and records, selling twenty bottles per minute at its peak.
A unisex brand that was so authentically grunge it was carried in record stores alongside albums by Nirvana.
The fragrance was created by Alberto Morillas and Harry Fremont, with top notes of pineapple, green notes, mandarin orange, papaya, bergamot, cardamom and lemon; middle notes of nutmeg, violet, orris root, jasmine, lily-of-the-valley and rose; and base notes of sandalwood, amber, musk, cedar and oakmoss.
It broke gender barriers and was marketed as a SHARED fragrance instead of unisex. CK ONE EDT had an introductory budget of $17-18 million, which may be largest budget for any of the so-called prestige fragrances introduced in 1994 and reached 250 million dollars in sales in its first year.
"Be hot. Be cool. Just BE."
In 1996 Calvin Klein did it again with CK Be EDT. It was one of the best selling new scents EVER.
The company described the scent as “raceless, genderless, ageless, and shared statement. ” It was called “the new fragrance for people.” The ads, once again shot by Avedon, were like a amalgam of all the work that had been put into creating a unique aesthetic for the brand, it was Heroin Chic at its finest: waifish and disoriented models who were young, multicultural and highly androgynous gathered into shot looking bored and gorgeous. The commercials showed Kate Moss speaking into the camera talking about “one more bad habit you have to break.” The ad ends with a voiceover: Be hot. Be cool. Just BE. Calvin Klein had done it. He created a media virus, an answer to any question that Generation X might have had: Just Be. All this from basic denim, a quiet unisex fragrance and white cotton underwear. His empire was built.
Each Calvin Klein ad campaign had its own characteristic image and its own particular target market. While the ads for CK ONE EDT portrayed groups of young, multicultural, mostly androgynous urban men and women, the CK Be EDT campaign featured an intimate and raw close-up of the individuals within the CK ONE EDT groups. According to Pauline Mancuso - Calvin Klein's CEO back then, ‘‘The CK be EDT campaign pulls you into these people’s lives.’’
"Freedom and possibilities of young people to explore the world".
CK in2U fragrances were launched in 2007. The brand launched two separated masculine and the feminine versions and it was described as the fragrance for the internet connected or techno-sexuals, a term the company made up to describe its intended audience of thumb-texting young people whose romantic lives are defined in part by the casual hookup. CK IN2U expressed freedom and possibilities of young people to explore the world. That same year, during its launch, Coty executives gathered to explain that the fragrances were a portrait of a generation physically bold, but emotionally guarded; having grown up using computers as a primary means of interaction. Now young adults, they are post-Abercrombie, post-Juicy Couture and over any number of scents derived from the essences of Jennifer Lopez, Britney Spears, and Paris Hilton.
As Coty's Vice president for Global marketing Lori Singer explained about the fragrances targeted group of 20-ish youngsters “They don’t want to feel that they are being marketed to or spoken at. They are much more empowered, but they are unshockable. They have seen everything from 9/11 to Paris Hilton and Britney Spears without underwear. They see everything instantaneously that goes on in the world.”
To seem more authentic, Calvin Klein was trying to reach consumers on their own turf by creating an online community, whatareyouin2.com, patterned after sites like MySpace and Facebook. The company invited students at film schools around the country to submit shorts addressing the theme of “what are you into?” and their clips were to be found on the site. The response to CK in2u among fragrance retailers at trade shows was so strong, the company said, that it delayed its introduction by a month to increase production to close to two million units, nearly twice the 258 initial volume of its Euphoria women’s fragrance in 2005. (Eric Wilson edited)
Gottlieb, the perfumer who created the fragrance explained that because Millennials are used to fast-moving information and images, the fragrance is meant to be quick-acting and immediately recognizable on the skin. Their food and drinks, like Smartwater and coffee-flavored colas, and gum charged with flavor crystals, all come in high-definition, intensified varieties. So their fragrance should also seem busy.
“It is about two individuals defined by who they are, not what they are”
The newest launch for 2016 - CK2 EDT
Ten years later Calvin Klein is putting its chips again into a fragrance for a new generation - The Millennials. Not as unisex or shared, but now it is introducing a new term: gender-neutral. As Coty describes it: "CK2 embodies the thrill of life and celebrates the diversity of connections between two people. Two individuals defined by who they are, not what they are. one gender-free fragrance for a man or a woman, without prejudices, to unite and create an experience that can be shared together in love, lust and friendship. We come together void of stereotypes and free of conformity; a youthful connection between 2 people to celebrate the differences that make our connections richer and define what makes us, us. Life is better when we are 2."
Defined as urban woody - fresh scent, CK2 EDT is developed by International Flavors and Fragrances with notes of wasabi, mandarin and violet leaf, wet cobblestones and orris concrete accords, rose absolute and a woody base of vetiver, sandalwood and incense.
According to Melisa Goldie, interviews by WWD, the brand wishes to target young consumers: “The launch of CK2 represents an extension of our overall brand strategy to reach a younger consumer base through modern, authentic storytelling. Given its relevant cultural messaging and youthful spirit, CK2 aligns well with this evolving approach to consumer engagement.”
Camillo Pane from Coty explained to WWD that they are targeting a new generation that values authenticity and fluidity in their everyday lives, and CK2 encapsulates this in every facet of the brand, whether via the scent, packaging, or campaign creative.
The company also gave details about its distribution strategy: “The launch of CK2 brings a new fragrance proposition to the marketplace with its relevant and disruptive brand messaging. We will launch exclusively in Macy’s in the U.S. in February, and then broaden distribution through alternative channels, while telling the story of CK2 through engaging media tools that resonate with the target audience.” (Distribution is expected to top out at 2,000 doors in the U.S. by yearend 2016).
The design of the new bottle
The bottle, a thick glass cylinder set in a clear base that allows the fragrance to be viewed either upside down or right side up, is intended to reinterpret minimalism and the minimalist design continues on the outside packaging, which is a drawing of the bottle inside.
The advertising campaign, shot by Ryan McGinley, includes both TV and print and is intended to celebrate the diversity of people’s connections. “It is about two individuals defined by who they are, not what they are. The campaign features four stories that fold into one another in unexpected ways. Four couples play out free spirited, raw narratives of today’s youth. The connections emphasize the thrill of life shared by two people and magnify the uniqueness of each relationship in our lives.
From what I watched, I saw young people finding sex partners via social media...pretty real. Twenty years later Calvin Klein is doing it again - portraying one entire generation in one fragrance, one concept.
Twenty two years from the launch of CK ONE EDT, twenty years after the CK be EDT and nine years after the launch of CK IN2U EDT, one can affirm that if Luca Turin once said that fragrances are not about sex he was wrong. One can even study the sexual behaviour of generations just by analysing the marketing strategies to sell Calvin Klein's perfumes!