PICTURE OF A FLOP?; THINKING CLEARLY;AUCKLAND HAD IT FIRST

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The most recent media blitz for Calvin Klein jeans, photographed by Stephen Meisel, is destined to become a classic ....flop.

The brilliance of Meisel's photographic posturing focuses controversy on the ads' content-a lineup of what appears to be nondescript (all white) adolescents clad in CK jeans. Before crossing into the realm of child porn, Meisel stops the reader. And in all likelihood he stops the CK customer base from purchasing product.

We find a shining example of creative minds twisting marketing objectives to fulfill personal objectives. Down-marketing his mainstay product, CK faces a tough decision. Will the boomers and post-boomers who are the revenue base for CK follow up with purchases of product driven by "children"?

Or is CK counting on the "echo boom" (children of boomers) to broaden sales? This segment represents less potential than their surrogates and cannot be counted upon to sustain CK jeans' growth.

Paul Benjou

President, Group One CommunicationsNew York

The Concept According to Klein: "....amateurism and media awareness-and the strength of personality and self knowledge .... they know how to act ....control a situation."

Whew! What a load of crap.

Ross Martin

Creative services director, WLEX-TV18

Lexington, Ky.

The lack of encouraging sentiments regarding Calvin Klein's recent ad campaign has me completely baffled.

Former Klein employee Rochelle Udell .... makes a comparison between Klein's current "child porn" theme and his well-known ads featuring Brooke Shields-defending the latter by arguing: "But that was different. In those, the words came out of her mouth and she looked so gorgeous."

Are we to assume, then, that it's acceptable to disguise a 15-year-old girl under the auspices of "she looked so gorgeous"?

I also recall one of Klein's ads a few years ago featuring naked models lying on top of each other. That ad prompted more erotically charged thoughts from this writer than Klein's latest endeavor. Why is that different?

Aside from possibly a question over age (even that is ridiculous), I fail to appreciate the involvement of the U.S. Department of Justice and the widespread fervor caused by the Klein ads....Is there anyone out there who can't see these ads simply for their artistry and marketing value? Are they hurting anyone? Is there potential for them to hurt anyone?

Relax. After all is said and done, I think our country's youth will still be okay. Kudos, Mr. Klein.

Jeff Ircink

Hiawatha, Iowa

Calvin Klein

Crossed a line

Chickenhawk

Just to shock

Tweenage porn

Raised my scorn

Guess this means

Levis jeans

Buy his kind?

DisinKleined

Phil Frankenfeld

Long Beach, Calif.

Clear thinking in corporate America is extremely rare, as evidenced by Rance Crain's column of Aug. 28.

With two exceptions, all the pundits in the country have praised the Cap Cities/ABC deal. Not clear thinker Rance Crain.

I agree. It's a dumb deal. Disney used to have three potential network customers for its programming. Now they have only ABC. Competing with your customers is almost always a mistake.

The other exception is Steve Forbes, another clear thinker in my book.

Al Ries

Chairman, Ries & Ries

Great Neck, N.Y.

Flag business

I suspect both your Jamaican-born and Welsh-born readers were amused to see the Welsh national flag (the Red Dragon or, in the Welsh language, "Y Ddraig Goch") misidentified as the Jamaican flag in the caption of the photo of McCann-Erickson Worldwide's waiting room (AA, July 24).

John Jenkins

Marina, Calif.

Editor's note: Both the Jamaican flag and the Red Dragon are among the symbols visible in the photo.

In your Aug. 28 edition there is a picture of a Sydney store and the caption reads `....it was the first to see Windows 95."

We saw it even earlier as in Auckland we are 2 hours ahead of Sydney. Some of our stores opened at midnight to sell copies of Windows 95 and I believe there were 500 at one place.

There is a lot of friendly rivalry between Australia and New Zealand, so we need to set the record straight on this point-WE HAD WINDOWS 95 FIRST !!!

I enjoy reading Ad Age each week-it's full of interesting information.

Carol Hickman

Information executive

Fletcher Challenge Ltd.

Auckland, N.Z.

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