If you haven’t read the Thursday Styles yet, you have to check out the article by Eric Wilson about the new Calvin Klein fragrance. This article managed to make me completely nauseated from start to finish — mega-corporate marketers are
the antichrist completely clueless.
It seems that the label that once epitomized cool with ads that launched Kate Moss’s
emaciated provocative figure to stardom is now trying to recapture its glory with a new fragrance geared toward the millennial generation. Why my generation (born 1982 – 1995) are called the millennials is beyond me; since we grew up in the age of big hair and spandex. But that is for another blog.
Everything from how this fragrance is going to be marketed to how it is bottled to what it is called makes me dry heave. According to the Times article, Calvin Klein did their research and found this to be the case — 20-somethings want no part of the corporate machine. So it seems I am totally in tune with my generation when I say that I don’t want to be marketed to and I don’t buy into big-corporate trends manufactured in a little room with no windows by 40-something balding men with no taste or sense of who I am. During this marketing research, CK even ventured into the hipster-laden borough of Brooklyn, specifically Dumbo and Williamsburg, to further show that they have no clue what they are doing. As anyone of the millennial generation will tell you, being a hipster is cool, only if you don’t admit it and swear you don’t actually associate with them.
But instead of calling the target demographic what they are, CK invented a whole new word for it (even trademarked the word in hopes that it will catch on.)
Reading this word made my skin crawl. One source in the article said, “I just imagine kids putting on cologne to sit behind their computers. That’s really weird.” All I have to say is weird does not cut it. This word evokes images of some totally bizarre sexual behavior with computers — it would be a more appropriate label for some creepy, cyber stalker who chats up teenage girls 20 years their junior on MySpace.
All of these problems and I haven’t even mentioned the name of the fragrance yet. Calvin Klein’s new fragrance is going to be called CK in2u — a poor attempt at connecting with the millennial generation and our love of text messaging. While I send more texts than I make phone calls, I have never typed that phrase until now; actually, like most of my peers, my texts are completely grammatically correct and fully written out. CK in2u only brings up awkward reminders of my parents trying to relate to me by saying things like “rad” and “gnarly.”
So what lesson can all corporate brands learn from this? Should has-been labels try marketing to a demographic that they don’t understand? When will they learn that us milliennials just want them to give it to us straight?