Why, then, the big media furor this time? Why the veritable eruption of controversy? No doubt when such department store giants as Dayton Hudson weighed in and refused to be identified in any way with ads from this campaign, the media took notice.
And professional moralists such as Donald Wildmon's American Family Association raised the volume a bit. But, in large measure, we believe Calvin did it again-he got his company miles and miles of free publicity by going outside the boundaries of conventional taste.
But then, just as consumers from Spokane to Savannah were getting wind of this kiddie porn controversy, Mr. Klein announced that he would cease running the remainder of this campaign "as soon as possible" because it has "been misunderstood in some parts."
If he really believes what he said last week, that "young people today, the most media savvy generation yet, have a real strength of character and independence," then his next campaign should illustrate that without the leering sexual innuendo. If any good is to come out of this, it could be as a warning to other advertisers who test our tolerance with sleaze: There is a line, and you cross it at your own peril.