Calvin Klein adopts digital-first approach, leaving print ads behind
- Calvin Klein has announced that it will stop advertising in print starting in February 2019, instead taking a "digital-first, socially amplified model" with a strong video element, WWD reported.
- The brand also plans to post more frequently on its social media platforms, like Instagram, work with more micro-influencers and host local activations.
- Calvin Klein and its high-end 205W39NYC line reported disappointing results for Q3. Emanuel Chirico, chairman and CEO of PVH Corp., owner of the brand, said the company will work to make the lines more commercial and focus more on digital media buys, during a conference call to discuss the results.
The news, while not surprising given digital marketing's continued momentum, it is noteworthy because Calvin Klein, has a history of lavish print ads. The brand's shift from print to digital and social media is clearly an effort to reach millennials and Gen Zers, who are avid users of social platforms, more likely to engage with influencers and less likely to read print publications. They are also attracted to authentic, unique experiences offered by experiential activations, which Calvin Klein is also planning as part of their new marketing mix.
More marketers are increasing their digital budgets over more traditional formats, like print. Digital ad sales jumped 17% in 2018, 1.5% more than previously forecast, reaching $251 billion, or 45% of global ad revenue, according to the winter 2018 update of Magna Advertising Forecasts. Non-digital ad sales, including print and linear TV, were flat with 0.2% growth for a total of $301 billion. Calvin Klein has embraced digital-focused campaigns in the past, such as last year's "Our Family. #MyCalvins," starring musicians Solange, Kelela, Dev Hynes, Caroline Polachek and Adam Bainbridge of Kindness.
Other fashion brands are investing more in Instagram influencers to reach younger consumers and to encourage social shopping in a more cost-effective way. In tandem, Instagram has been rolling out new shopping tools to attract brands to the platform and compete with its rival Snapchat. Instagram recently expanded shopping to Instagram Stories. The shoppable Stories will feature a shopping bag sticker and allow users to pause the story and tap to see more details, including product descriptions, price and a link to the brand's site to make a purchase. More than one-third of Instagram Stories users say they've become more interested in a product or brand after seeing it on Stories.
Calvin Klein's decision to stop print advertising is the latest blow to the print magazine industry, which has seen consistent declines in ad revenue over the past few years. Magazine ad spend by the 50 biggest advertisers dropped to to $6.1 billion in 2017 compared to $6.5 billion in 2016, according to the Association of Magazine Media. Declining ad revenue has led some publications to stop printing and become digital only. Condé Nast-owned Glamour announced last month that it was ceasing its print operations and focusing on digital.