Calvin Klein Ad Taps Foursome Sex

New York City ad outrages parents, strikes ho-hum chord with young people.

ByABC News
June 16, 2009, 3:15 PM

June 17, 2009— -- Edgy is Calvin Klein's middle name.

And now, once again, the fashion company is shocking and titillating passersby with a new ad campaign in New York City's Soho neighborhood, a place where young mothers with strollers mingle with artists and hipsters.

A giant 50-foot-tall billboard advertising Calvin Klein jeans features two young men and a young woman entangled half-clothed (a male and female kissing) as a third man lays at their feet, either undressing or putting his pants back on.

Some say they find the ad so outrageous they won't buy Calvin Klein products again. Others have called it "disgusting."

"Not only the billboard, but a company -- a corporate giant in America -- feels it appropriate to put a semi-nude photograph in a major billboard in a high-traffic area where tens of thousands of children see this kind of activity going on," said Randy Sharp, director of special projects for the American Family Association, a Christian organization that promotes preservation of traditional values.

"If it were going on in the back of a parking lot with steamed windows, they would be arrested, and yet they broadcast it to a whole city," he told

The organization has launched an appeal on its Web sites – and, whose members have sent off more than 15,000 e-mail complaints to the company.

Calvin Klein's in-house agency, CRK Advertising, has a history of tapping into that cultural outrage.

In 1981, a coquettish Brooke Shields told consumers, "You wanna know what comes between me and my Calvins? Nothing."

And just last year, one of its ads starring Eva Mendes was banned because of the hint of a nipple.

Retail sales of products sold worldwide under the Calvin Klein brand names generated more than $5 billion in revenue in 2007. Its 55 licensing agreements for fragrances, handbags and even furniture bolster $156 million of those sales.