If you're looking for virality and buzz, Calvin Klein's marketing department has certainly done a bang-up job this year. First came Justin Bieber's much-spoofed, probably Photoshopped underwear ads in early January, garnering the brand millions of new followers, and March brought even more thanks to a denim campaign featuring Kendall Jenner.
So, has shooting straight for the heart of youth city brought about real business gains?
Execs at PVH Corp, the parent company of Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger, said on a Tuesday morning webcast that they "believe [they're] beginning to connect with a younger customer." That's good. Men's underwear gained some market share during the first quarter of the year, which wrapped May 3, and the very manly-sounding "Intense Power" style the Biebs wore in his campaign has been selling well. But denim, the focus of Jenner's ads, is tricky: Calvin Klein has lost 50 percent of the market share it had four or five years ago, and the men's jeans business is turning around faster than women's, improvements in which the team describes as "flat-ish" at this point.
"It's better than it's been, but I wouldn't categorize jeans and denim as a hot category at this point," says CEO Emanuel Chirico.
To be fair, Jenner's ads were only live for a little over a month before the quarter wrapped. While we're sure she inspired some young lasses to snap up the limited edition denim collection she was shilling, perhaps the next quarter's results will show more of a lift.