Key concepts in media and communication: The ckin2u advertisement

The CKin2u Advertisement: It’s Treatment of Identities.


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Photographed by world renowned photographers Inez van Lamswerdee and Vinoodh Matadin, the CKin2u advertisement shows a girl leaning against a wall while tugging off a man’s belt as he twists a strand of her hair (Wilson, 2007). At the same time, the advertisement contains the Ckin2u bottle, made of white plastic and glass that closely resembles the iPod. The name of the brand is said to be written in the shorthand of an instant message, which at the same time becomes a casual invitation to sex (Wilson, 2007). From the description of the aforementioned product, it can be seen that the advertisement has in itself, captured the so-called Generation Y  identity. It is a known fact that the members of the so-called Generation Y spend more in buying electronic gadgets than fashionable products like perfumes. True enough, this is the generation that has never experienced how it is to live without technology (Kruse, 2004) and adopts newer technology faster than the previous generations (Kruse, 2004).

They spend more time online rather than watching television, doing their homework or socializing personally with their friends. They rely on the internet for their homework, researching, communicating with their friends and loved ones, etc. In the same manner, their membership in different online communities such as Friendster contributed to their dependence on technology. At the same time, developing relationships that often lead to cyber sex (or even beyond) has been prevalent among the teens of today. They are indeed, becoming more and more technosexual, in other words, using technology for sex.


It is then for these reasons that this particular advertisement in its hopes to capture the consumers belonging to generation Y, included bits of their identity onto the said advertising material. As Dr. Aydin Ugur (2006) mentioned, the media defines the people’s identities and in the long run, transforms them. The advertisement has undoubtedly contributed to the definition of the so-called generation y identity. The manner by which the product name has been spelled seems to imply that this generation is becoming more and more technosexual. Wilson (2007) states that it was spelled in that way so as to imply that the invitation to sex has been so immediate that there was no time to even spell out “in to you.” Obviously, the world wide web has become one of the places where romantic lives start, that often begin with casual hookups (Wilson, 2007; ). Generation Y, is indeed a generation which has said to be physically bold yet emotionally guarded, having only been accustomed to impersonal communication through the use of computers as their only means of interaction (Wilson, 2007).


At the same time, the advertisement shows the identity of the youth of today by designing the perfume bottles in such a way that it could be closely associated to the iPod. True enough, the iPod and other electronic gadgets have appealed most to this generation. It is also for their love of electronic gadgets, as it has been previously stated, that the youth of today spend more money on electronics rather than buying fashion products like perfume.


The CKin2u advertisement: Stereotypes in the Text



The advertisement, in one way or another has also contributed to the stereotypical views not just that of Generation Y but of men and women alike. As mentioned, the advertisement in question has created the identity of those belonging to the said generation as being dependent on technology and at the same time has created impersonal relationships through the use of the internet and other forms of technology. In the same manner, the advertisement has been filled with sexual messages to attract more people, knowing that their targeted audience is said to be more and more interested with such topics. Advertisements, whether shown in televisions, magazines or billboards are full of images of women and girls who have continuously defined the concept of beauty. Advertisements often show girls who are usually white and thin (Media Awareness Network, 2007a), usually baring their breasts or cleavage, thighs, stomachs or midriffs and even their behinds (Media Awareness Network, 2007b). Although not quite provocative, the CKin2u advertisement used a beautiful, skinny woman to attract the attention of the consumers. However, the woman in this particular advertisement still remains to be a sexual object as sexual images and messages fill the said advertising material. It is also because of this that the concept of the beauty of women has been defined. Physically attractive and sexually desirable has become synonymous with being thin. In the same manner, the CKin2u advertisement has stereotyped relationships through the images and messages it transmit to the billions of people through which this particular form of media is addressed to. Clearly, media has related relationships and dating with sex; that it is no longer possible to have a normal relationship with someone without having to engage in sexual intercourse. In addition, media has also related relationships with a physical attractiveness. In contrast, men are usually stronger, muscular and powerful. They are the ones who usually dominate the entire picture. This sense of power and strength has contributed so much to the authority the male experiences in the media which is then becomes the reason behind the growing popularity of men’s magazines such as Playboy, Maxim and FHM (Media Awareness Network, 2007c).


All these stereotypical images show in the advertisement that this paper focuses on. It shows the innocence and vulnerability of women to the so-called attacks of men. This shows the fact that women could not really resist men, that saying no is actually a woman’s way of teasing her man (Media Awareness Network, 2007b), as clearly seen in the way that the two models were positioned in the advertisement. It is also from their position that the male authority and dominance is seen. True enough, much of the space has been taken up by the male model (Media Awareness Network, 2007d). In the same way, this has contributed to the belief of the society that it is the males who are supposed to make the first move whilst the women wait by making themselves physically attractive. It is then clearly seen that the power of media has indeed created stereotypical views not just of men and women but also of sex, which is then the product of a relationship between a powerful, strong man and an equally vulnerable, innocent woman.


The Advertisement’s Relation to an Audience


The advertisement of the CKin2u perfume has gone beyond what has been described in the previous paragraphs. Simply put, the advertisement discussed above shows the characteristics of the internet generation or generation y and how this very popular perfume made use of their characteristics and identities in constructing an advertisement. It is because of this that the product’s name itself has been spelled in the shorthand instant messaging form, characterizing the fast-paced life being lived by those who are dependent on technology, managing to make the most out of the usual 24 hours (Gauntlett, n.d.). In the same manner, the advertisement captured the essence of what it means to be a part of the technosexual generation. According to the article How to Bottle a Generation by Eric Wilson, (2006), the term technosexual generation has been coined due to the popularity of instant messaging among the young people whose romantic lives have been the result of casual hookups through impersonal communication (Jacobs, 1992; Voelker & Voelker, 1978).


In addition, having considered this generation’s dependence on the internet and other forms of technology, the makers of the CKin2u has developed an online community called second life where users could create an alternative life and personality for themselves. It is in this online community that the fragrance shall also be made available. Also, another online community, has been created by the same company. In this particular website, users, most especially students from film schools submit short clips that answer the question what are you into? (European Cosmetics Market, 2007)



Without a doubt, the executives of Calvin Klein have taken the wants and needs of their targeted audience into consideration. The creation of these online communities could further increase their sales and profit due to the fact that most of those belonging to generation y rely to the internet for almost everything. It is no longer merely confined to the black and white advertisements filled with genderless models that they have used in promoting CK One more than ten years ago (European Cosmetics Market, 2007). Advertisements today have to be more edgy to capture the eyes, minds and hearts of the members of the so-called internet generation who have unwittingly caused the decline of the beauty industry. Thus, their advertisement incorporated the elements that make up the culture of generation y. In the same way, it focused on capturing the moment, the prevailing ideology in the time period where a certain product or service is being endorsed. Surely, they have to be ensnared by the product’s advertisements without having to visit record stores as the youth nowadays seldom shop for music at a record store with music databases at the tip of their finger tips.  Likewise, designing the bottle of this perfume in such a way that it could be resembled to an iPod is another plus point, knowing that most members of this generation have patronized the said electronic gadget. Therefore, one can say that the CKin2u advertisement’s use of technology contributed to its success as it caters to the consumers who belong to generation y (European Cosmetics Market, 2007)


The Context within which CKin2u is Produced and Consumed


CKin2u is basically the fragrance developed for today’s generation, the sequel to CK One which has been said to be one of the most successful products ever developed by Calvin Klein. According to the executives of this particular company whose main concern is to provide the society with fashionable products, they wanted the youth of today to be thrilled by the products being sold by their company, just like their counterparts from generation x about fifteen years ago. In doing so, the company had to launch the said product in the virtual world to be able to link the interface between virtual and reality which has been viewed to be very relevant in the culture of today’s youth (European Cosmetics Market, 2007)

. In their hopes to capture the moment and the ideology by which the youth today lives, the product has been designed and advertised in such a way that the consumers would be attracted to the said perfume. Coming up with the product is of tremendous difficulty to the producers. The stereotypical view of men and women that exists in today’s society, as well as the boldness of the personality of teenagers has contributed so much to the development of the fragrance. It is no longer gloomy but fizzy and fruity and at the same time, more spontaneous and seductive (European Cosmetics Market, 2007)



Having captured the essence of what it truly means to belong in generation y, the company now focused on developing an advertisement that could surely catch the attention of their intended audience. Studies show that more and more youth are relying heavily on the internet for information. Because of this, Calvin Klein knew that in advertising their product, they have to go beyond the usual print and non-print media. This once again, has incorporated the development of online communities to endorse their products. On the other hand, however, it made use of advertisements that captured the identities of the intended audience, making it more efficient. The positioning of models in the advertisement is one, and the way by which this media has been constructed is another. It is because of this that the product’s name itself has been spelled in the shorthand instant messaging form, characterizing the fast-paced life being lived by those who are dependent on technology, managing to make the most out of the usual 24 hours (Wells and Hakanen, 1997)



The advertisement has also been filled with images that exemplify the growing trend of today. True enough, sex is now synonymous with relationships and relationships could now either be personal or impersonal through the use of computers as well as other forms of technology. Clearly, media has played a very important role in the lives of the billions of people all over the world. Without a doubt, a simple perfume advertisement could actually include and transmit both positive and negative images just to make sure that their targeted audience patronizes the product being endorsed. The key concepts in media and communication, as clearly seen have been embedded on the CKin2u advertisement as it continues to capture the generation inside a bottle (European Cosmetics Market, 2007)



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Wilson, E. (2006). How to Bottle A Generation. The New York Times.



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