Calvin Klein Underwear’s #mycalvins campaign is officially everywhere. Taking over worldwide billboards and celeb Instagram accounts. Justin Bieber ‘flaunted’ in his Calvins, Kendall Jenner ‘dreamt’ in her Calvins, and FKA Twigs ‘excelled’ in hers.
But some people were not happy about this juxtaposition of two separate ads on a billboard in Soho, New York, describing the combination as “offensive” and “sexist.”
The ads in question feature actress Klara Kristin with the text ‘I seduce in #mycalvins’, alongside rapper Fetty Wap with the text ‘I make money in #mycalvins’.
Heidi Zak, cofounder and CEO of lingerie label ThirdLove, was so outraged by the the images that she started a campaign to get the billboard removed.
In an open letter to Calvin Klein’s CEO, Steve Shiffman, she wrote: “It’s striking that almost a century after women won the right to vote, companies like yours are still propagating these offensive and outdated gender stereotypes: Men go to work and make money, while women are nothing more than sex objects.”
Zak also made a powerful YouTube video (above) explaining why the ad is so problematic and interviewing passers-by in the street about their thoughts on the billboard.
She also started the social media hashtag #MoreThanMyUnderwear and a Change.org petition ‘Take Down Sexist Billboard In NYC’.
Calvin Klein have since removed the billboard, but told Refinery29 that the move wasn’t a result of Zak’s campaign.
“This billboard was taken down overnight as part of the planned rotation of our spring 2016 advertising campaign,” a spokesperson said.
“We take all of our consumers’ concerns seriously and as a global brand, we promote gender equality and the breakdown of gender stereotypes across the world.”