08 March 2007

Fashion Industry Attempts to Hijack Generation (again)

It's one of those days where I'm beginning to feel old and obsolete. For those of you older than me (I'll be 29 in May, words that strike fear in my heart), this is more than likely something you've gone through. As a younger man, I always felt that 30 was just another number, and I'd approach it like any other birthday. The reality of the situation is closing in like a stormcloud, though. A 30 year old without a career is a sad, sad prospect, indeed.

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What brought on this anxiety today, you ask with baited breath? An article in the NY Times today about Calvin Klein's perfume division. It seems that they are trying to launch a sequal of sorts to CK1, aimed at the (I'm not making this up) 'technosexual' generation. They've actually copywrited this term. Remember CK1? I guess they still make it. I was given a bottle for Christmas one year, and always found it to be kind of off putting and smelly. In fact, it always reminded me of the off-putting scent of pages in those thirty pound fashion magazines that women always seemed to read (oddly, even the enlightened feminist ones. I never understood that).

Now there's CK in2U. That's the name. It sounds like something I would have come up with as a joke, like calling it 'Teh CK." That would have been a better name, even, and I just came up with that off of the top of my head. Maybe I need to go into advertising. I guess 'in2U' is a text message abbreviation for 'Let's fuck.' You know I'm getting old when I need the New York Times to tell me that.

That was the thing. I'm reading this article, shaking my head at the idiocy of advertising, when it occurred to me that they weren't aiming this scent at me. I immediately figured I was in their demographic when I began reading the article. I'm in my 20's, I live in a major city, I have a blog. I'm down with fashion to some degree, I know good music. I'm cynical and disaffected. Don't I sound like someone they would market to?


I'm obsolete. I realized that I don't know text-message lingo. The age group they are aiming for is five years younger than me. They show a group of 20somethings in the article, people that are dressed like my friends, drinking cheap beer. But they aren't me and my friends, they're our younger siblings.

Ouch.

Will the campaign succeed? Will these 'technosexuals' (I winced when I wrote that) buy into the mythos of the campagin? I have hope in the disaffection of people. What I find amusing is that Calvin Klein Co. (he sold his interest in 2002, apparently) missed the boat completely in what makes this generation different than the one before it. They got the sex down, but that's easy, because every generation likes casual sex. The bottle is made to remind one of an iPod (it's made of similar plastic). That's hip, right? And they're calling it something in text-message slang. What are they doing wrong?

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The generation is one that obsessed with self exposure. If you are in that generation, and disagree with me, let me ask you: Do you have a blog? Are people supposed to read it? Are you on MySpace? Flickr? Think about this for a moment. I'm not going to pretend that this is a theory I've cooked up, it's one I've read elsewhere, but I think it brings up valid points. Perhaps it was growing up with The Real World and reality TV that caused people to desire to be seen and heard. Perhaps it's the ease of connection in today's society, with all of our electronic conveniences. But this is what speaks to people, and thinking that just by using sexually charged imagery you'll be able to connect with people is just wishful thinking.

But who knows? I could be wrong.

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