Calvin Klein, Carrot Top


In an unusually controversial Calvin Klein campaign made to look like child pornography, youth are asked revealing questions by an unseen man from behind the camera.

The male interviewer says, "So you like to work out -- take your jacket off, let's check out the results ... Good. What's your name?" The kid says his name is Doug. The man asks, "Do you have another name?" Doug says, "Well, my middle name is Frank but that's about it." He adds that "in first grade everyone calls you Carrot Top, but not anymore. I always used to say that carrot tops are green, you know."

While the other ads in the campaign included women, a number of boys were also asked by the man to remove clothing, perform and answer probing questions as well. Some of the young men are uncomfortable while others appear to be street-savvy. While research shows that pedophilia is more often perpetrated by men who identify as heterosexual, these ads appear to support the myth that gay men seek to molest young boys -- especially if a viewer doesn't see the interviews with young women.

Of course, fashion advertising is usually about sex, but Klein has many times created media storms over his ads. This campaign may have taken the title since President Clinton even derided the effort -- when he had his own better moral standing. Klein not only relented in response, he even issued a statement of apology.

Amazingly, the Justice Department was convinced to conduct an investigation to see if the models were "under age." This is ludicrous, since there is no age limit to being a model or actor -- the age investigation implied that the ads were actually pornographic.

Nonetheless, such advertising efforts are disingenuous, since their intent is to incite publicity, and are not unusual from fashion advertisers with small media budgets such as Klein, Diesel and Benetton.

User Comments
Fredrick Bertz
I do not see why these ads were labeled as child porn. All of the ads you have online were clearly older teens and young adults who were of age (18-21). I did not see them when they were running, however, and I question whether or not you have the entire collection. Even though these ads do not constitute child porn, in my opinion, I felt weird watching them.