Calvin Klein is no stranger to controversial advertisements featuring the mass-market appeal of The American Teenager, and it seems that the same creepy tactics are now being used to promote the new FDA e-cig regulations. While Calvin Klein uses images of scantily clad youth to market their jeans and t-shirts, the FDA is using mental imagery of pubescent youngsters puffing away on vape mods to lure the American People into a false sense of horror. If the FDA can convince Joe Public that vaping leads to teenagers picking up those unsexy cigarettes, then the agency stands to win billions of dollars in new revenues.
In the 80’s, Calvin Klein released a series of underwear ads featuring teenagers that were legally of adult age but appeared to be much, much younger. The ads were so controversial that they had to be pulled, but the Calvin Klein Company made a huge profit anyway. Like they say, “There’s no such thing as bad publicity.”
Calvin Klein’s creepy history.
CK did it again in the 1990s. By hiring a young and buff Mark Wahlberg, a.k.a. Rapper Marky Mark, to pose in white boxer briefs while holding his crotch, Mark and Calvin both got a new boost in their perspective careers. Underwear sales soared, CK got richer, and Mark went on to become a successful Rapper-turned-Movie Star.
In fact, Calvin Klein is so good at creepy advertising that they are under fire once again. ABC News is running a story about the company’s spring 2016 social media promotion where alluring teens, both boys and girls, wearing skimpy underwear ask the reader, Fill in the blank: “"I _______ in my Calvins.” In the 1980’s, the public was so outraged by teen-sex-for-profit ads like these that magazines had to be taken off of supermarket shelves. Today, these disturbing advertisements appear in high resolution video plastered all over social media.
Marking FDA e-cig regulations using creepy Calvin Klein tactics.
In the months preceding the announcement of the new FDA e-cig regulations, the agency kept releasing statements that something had to be done to protect the youth of America from “teen smoking.” If you believe the FDA, today’s teens are choosing to spend their hard-earned allowance on vape pens and e-juice rather than a Barbie Dolls and video games.
But instead of giving the few teenagers who actually DO vape a congratulatory pat on the back for choosing an alternative to smoking that is 95% safer, the FDA wants to give them a slightly uncomfortable pat on the rump instead by taking away their e-cigs. And the creepy tactics seem to be working.
The American people are so disgusted by any white plume of…well, “fill in the blank”...coming out of the mouths of babes that they are willing to allow the FDA to place tobacco regulations on a product that has absolutely nothing to do with tobacco. It may not be fair, but stealing marketing strategies from Calvin Klein certainly is clever. Well done, FDA. Well, done.