As previously reported, the upcoming perfume launch by Calvin Klein has adopted the rapid text messaging style of the new digital generation to define its image and is called CK in2u. According to the press release, "ck one is about connecting with the group, ck be is about connecting with yourself, and ck IN2U is all about connecting with another person."
Even before the perfumes have been made available to the public (but you will read a review of them first here), the advertising campaign around the duo of fragrances for her and for him is generating quite a stir in the media and in particular in the blogosphere where acerbic remarks seem to resound like shouts emanating from angry young people, precisely the ones targeted by the advertisers, i.e., the millenials or people born between 1982 and 1995......
CK IN2U, The Debate
If Calvin Klein intended its approach to contain some humor, it seems to have been completely lost on the commenters who take the newly-crafted and even trademarked concept of "technosexual" dead seriously and feel deeply offended by it. A statement like "ck fragrances have always captured a moment. right now, it’s about a new kind of connection in a world that is seduced by technology and sexuality. the ability to be physically bold, but emotionally guarded defines the technosexual moment." is making the potential wearers of the fragrance irate. And especially the following one has not gone down well with the target audience: "she only knows his screen name, but can see that he has a cute face. he doesn’t know what she looks like, but he wants to know what she’s in2. she likes how he blogs, her texts turn him on. it’s intense. for right now."
The obvious comment to make here is that Calvin Klein has at least succeeded in hitting a nerve. You can read some of the comments generated by the new ad campaign on Gothamist and Millionaire Socialite.
It is surprising to see how simple advertising tag lines could have been so ill-taken. One would imagine that jaded consumerist millenials could just shrug off their shoulders and dismiss it as advertising hype, but the reactions reveal that they do not like the image that has been constructed of who they are. They want to affirm their individuality rather than to be amalgamated into a group. Calvin Klein has done something rife with risk, which is to play with identity fault lines.
Just like when one touches upon religion, class, or ethnicity, passions have arisen. One could also add that the term "technosexual" is not especially flattering and this is also probably this departure from an embellishing type of advertising that is not well-taken. When most advertisements tend to be utopian in nature, projecting a better, idealized (richer, more beautiful) world, Calvin Klein has opted for a kind of "realistic" sociological advertising that attempts to capture the zeitgeist and the mood of the masses. It appears that people prefer to identify with a beautiful individual rather than be labeled directly even if in the end the more traditional beautiful advertisings could also serve as fodder for social critique.
Technically, I understand that since the term "technosexual" has been trademarked, it might feel like there is some urgency at reacting to the labeling and throw discredit upon the attempt at solidifying the notion. Still, what are expressed are hurt feelings. And this is the most suprising part for me, that people could take it personally as if indeed there was a link to their real lives, at some level.
CK IN2U, The Perfumes
I was pleasantly surprised by the perfumes as they smell interesting, especially the women's one in my view. They have a certain integrity to them and are departures from insipid mainstream concoctions. The CK in2u for her makes me think of Comme des Garçons' exploration of unusual smells like that of an electric bulb or skai. Both present futuristic accents that are also expressed through a fairly androgynous feel. They make you think of an universe in which cement, plastic, and neon abound but without making this environment seem inhuman. They have a certain calculated polished weirdness to them.
CK IN2U for women was composed by Loc Dong and Carlos Benaïm. CK IN2U for Men was created by Bruno Jovanovic and Jean Marc Chaillan. The structures of the perfumes were purposefully constructed to let through the mid and base notes immediately, in line with the idea that the millenials are a fast generation. Whatever the motivation, the result is pleasing even to a non-millenial.
CK IN2U for Her is described as a fresh floriental. Here is the official description of the notes:
top: pink grapefruit fizz, sicilian bergamot, red currant leaves
a carefree burst of sparkling pink grapefruit fizz, splashed over tart red currant leaves and zesty sicilian bergamot.
mid: sugar orchid, white cactus
a sugar-coated fantasy blooms and mingles with the hypnotic nectar of the
dry: neon amber, vanilla soufflé, red cedar
warm neon amber floods throughout, finishing with a kiss of luscious vanilla soufflé and smoldering red cedar.
The perfume is an interesting mix of sensations, combining natural elements - or more correctly put, ones that are made in reference to the natural world - with fabricated ones. It is a little surrealistic and smells of things like an orange sitting in an iron wire cage, a dusty red-currant-scented light bulb, a warmed-up magnet, and a toast and butter near a cup of earl grey tea with the still perceptible metallic traces of the knife on the butter. The so called "neon amber" note runs throughout the perfume bringing a modernistic and even futuristic edge to the perfume. It also brings a certain glowing texture to the perfume together with some effect of transparency with the white cactus note. It feels electric, it feels metallic, but in a pleasant sense. The sugar orchid is also quite perceptible as well as the red cedar. The drydown is sensual, woody, and amberey. The next day, the perfume leaves not exactly a classic drydown but rather a very light imprint on the skin as if your skin had been pre-scented or tattoed with the scent. It is an interesting feeling and reinforces the impression that the perfume is technically innovative.
The creative structure and notes contribute to an overall impression of newness and edginess. Despite these new ideas, the perfume remains classicly harmonious and well-balanced and is meant to meld in the skin. I think that people with an urban and modern sensitivity will like it even beyond the target group.
CK IN2U for Him is described as a woody oriental. The official description of the notes is as follows:
top: lime gin fizz, pomelo leaves, frosted tangelo
a surge of lime gin fizz tickles the pomello leaves followed by a burst of freshness from the frosted tangelo.
mid: cocoa, pimento, shiso leaves
an unexpected combination of exotic scents and sensations - the bitter cocoa bean intertwined with the fiery pimento – is delicious and hot. fresh shiso leaves add a cool contrast to the mix.
dry: cool musks, white cedar, ultra-vetiver
from start to finish, the suggestive cool musks linger throughout. white cedar and earthy vetiver warm you up and leave you wanting more.
The perfume is woodier and wetter than the women's one. The suggestion of electric notes is not so present although there is also that glowing texture to some extent. It makes me think of a modern wooden house located near a lake and forest, perhaps a sauna made of white balsamic woods. There is a white-colored note that runs throughout the perfume that I suppose are the cool musks. It makes one think of a clean white bed sheet lingering on the grass or somehow juxtaposing itself above the dark blue water of the lake with the shadowy black forest in the background.The pimento is perceptible once you know it is there. The shiso creates an interesting savory gourmand note and an impression of fleshy woodiness that I appreciate although the sweetness in general is more prevalent. The drydown is soapy, cedarey, ans musky. The musk becomes quite dirty with time, reminding me of the musk in Cuir de Russie by L.T. Piver, only, fortunately, less strong.
The overall impression is also one of modernity, but it is slightly more traditional with its marked masculine cedarey accents. The structure, on my skin at least, appears a bit less well defined than in the women's perfume. It is however sexy, masculine and a good skin-enhancer.
The perfumes will be available from April 2007.
The fragrances will retail for $36, $50, and $60 for 1.7 oz, 3.4 oz, and 5.0 oz bottles of eau de toilette.