Lessons From #MyCalvins

Throughout its existence, Calvin Klein has relied on one tried and true principle of marketing: sex sells. It was as true 50 or 100 years ago as it is today. However, social media marketing requires that we go beyond simple portrayals and add some depth and interactivity to supplement these primal laws. Calvin Klein’s latest social media campaign represents a brilliant and highly successful strategy for activating and engaging a fan base.

#MyCalvins was a campaign started in early 2014 which focused on getting social media users and influencers to share images of themselves in Calvin Klein underwear using the aforementioned hashtag. The foundation was a collection of black-and-white photos featuring Justin Bieber and model Lara Stone sporting CK waistband-branded underwear and denim. ck-bieber These images hearken back to Calvin Klein’s advertising past, such as the 1992 print ads featuring Mark Wahlberg and Kate Moss shot in nearly identical style to the modern renditions. Building off the success of the past allowed this campaign to bring something familiar and effective to audiences before adding the twist of interaction.

Following the release of the photo ads from the brand itself, a number of high profile influencers (such as Fergie and Kendall Jenner) on Instagram put the social media campaign into motion by sharing pictures of their own Calvins. Millions of Instagram- and Twitter-users were inspired by these social media icons and began replicating the images themselves. Before long the Internet was awash in images of young, fit Millenials posing in their Calvin Klein underwear.

mycalvins
A typical example of a #MyCalvins Instagram post

This trend absolutely exploded; the hashtag was used almost 200,00 times on Instagram alone. CK has seen immense success on Twitter as well, having the highest average amount of favorites and retweets among the top 20 fashion brands.

Whether judged by its global reach of 469 million or the brand’s millions of new followers across multiple social media platforms, the #MyCalvins campaign was among the most successful hashtag campaign ever seen. While the celebrity endorsements and official marketing releases were important and effective, they were only the keys to the ignition of this marketing machine. It was the 23.5 million fan interactions that made the campaign a major accomplishment, which clearly demonstrates that it is the consumer and not the marketer that makes a social media campaign successful.

By: Wesley Marcum

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