Culture Jam Assignment

Original Ad

Calvin Klein is one of the most well known brands in North America. It is famous for its signature Calvin Klein underwear. The Calvin Klein underwear ads consist of half naked men and women that all portray “the perfect Calvin Klein body”. This notion of a “perfect body” that is advertised so regularly in all of the Calvin Klein underwear ads can be detrimental to the values and beliefs that youth, particularly young women, have with respect to body image and self esteem. These young women are shown false realities about what perfection really is, which can lead to detrimental issues such as eating disorders, low self-esteem and other psychological problems. Young women in North America are exposed to Calvin Klein underwear ads regularly, as many celebrities such as Kendall Jenner and Justin Bieber are models that advertise the brand through mass media outlets. Youth who see the ads are likely to compare their bodies to the edited and visually flawless bodies of the Calvin Klein models. The Calvin Klein underwear ads sell the concept of a “perfect body” along with the underwear. There are no ads with any models who are considered to be “plus size” or with any imperfections whatsoever.

Many of the Calvin Klein underwear ads, such as this one, have a large sex appeal added. This ad makes it seem as if wearing Calvin Klein underwear will make you “sexier”, therefore you will get sexual attention. Looking at this oversexualized ad, if the Calvin Klein brand name was removed, I would think it could be an ad for a sex product of some sort. I think that this sexual aspect of the ad targets both men and women as consumers and it gives the notion that you will be more sexually attractive (and possibly more sexually active) when wearing this product.

Jammed Version of the Ad

Culture jamming exposes political assumptions about current events to the public. This allows individuals to understand the balance or imbalance between modern commercial culture and other human interests in society.

For my jammed version of the ad, I deconstructed the original ads attempt to sell consumers Calvin Klein underwear. I highlighted the injurious social message of the ad that consumers see. I added the tagline “Want to be sexy?” to portray the concept that the ad illustrates; that wearing Calvin Klein underwear will give individuals a “perfect body” and make them appear like these models. Most of society does not have a body that resembles the Calvin Klein underwear models, and this ad makes it seem as if this is the body that you need if you want to be sexually attractive.

I added the tagline “Want to get laid?”, as well as some condoms, to depict the oversexualization in this ad. I added these because at first glance, this looks as if it could be an ad for something sex related. Calvin Klein underwear ads create the impression that if you wear their underwear, it will automatically make you more physically attractive and therefore you will be more sexual. The use of double-meanings and underlying sexually appealing imagery in this ad conveys a strong message to the consumers that they will ultimately be more sexually attractive (or sexually active) if they buy this product.

The deconstruction of this ad shows how media conveys unrealistic ideas. This jammed advertisement also focuses on the oversexualization of mainstream media and how this ad creates an association between physical attractiveness and this product, which ultimately sends a message to the consumer that buying it will help them achieve this physique and sexuality.


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