The Kardashian Family Strikes Again on the Calvin Klein Instagram

The latest high profile Calvin Klein underwear campaign involves none other than the Kardashian family. Which raises the question: do the KarJenner sisters still resonate after all this time in the spotlight? We're finding out below.


Brand partnerships are tricky. A good one requires a super deep understanding of your brand and a well-crafted core strategy. We know how the right collaboration can be pure magic for marketing efforts, while a wrong one can make things go south real quick.

Today's marketing channels can take on the form of a double-edged sword. On one hand, branding's never been easier thanks to highly visual social mediums conducive to spreading a brand message. But at the same time, there's also way more noise than ever before, and it's incredibly difficult for businesses to keep things fresh and innovative when consumers are always hungry for more. That surprise and delight moment is marketing gold, yet highly elusive due to our constant connectivity.

In fact, when something or someone is too omnipresent, exposure fatigue is typically inescapable—that's just how it is. The height of hype or fame inevitably endures a decline. It's like inflation: what bubbles up eventually pops... Isn't that a law of physics or something? Either way, over-exposure regularly leads to saturation, and the only way to avoid a fall is to not reach the very top.

What's funny is that the Kardashian family seems immune to those laws of physics. Already in its fifteenth season, their now iconic reality TV show is still drawing ratings, even spawning a few spinoffs. The girls each have their own very successful businesses, Kylie's just been named the world's youngest self-made billionaire, and it's fair to say that fashion trends spring from how the girls look.

Interestingly enough, the more these sister are in the spotlight, the more people want to see them. They are venerated by a global audience that is apparently insatiable. There's no such thing as overkill as it relates to the Kardashians, even though (or is it because) they're no stranger to controversy.

Meanwhile, Calvin Klein's been pushing boundaries and flirting with controversy for most of its brand life. First with a risqué denim ad with Brooke Shields in 1980, then some suggestive underwear spots featuring Marky Mark and Kate Moss, and then thought-provoking fragrance advertisements in the early 90s. All iconic, all hell-raising upon release.

A vanguard of youth culture for almost 40 years, the brand has provocative running through its veins. When considering all of these past accomplishments, the KarJenner Klan kind of seems like a no-brainer partnership. They're the apex of pop culture, have clearly asserted their longevity, captivated the affections of billions of people and left an equal amount incredulous. We see them all the time, yet they remain fascinating.

The most recent Calvin Klein underwear campaign featuring the sisters is all about family—how apropos. While tapping them to be the face of it culturally makes sense if we go by the brand's boundary-pushing history, we were curious to see if they actually resonated with its audience, or if it was just wishful thinking on the part of CK's team. Below is the breakdown of the campaign with all the relevant numbers. They speak for themselves.

Keeping up with Calvin Klein

A brief overview of the Instagram campaign:

  • It includes fifteen images and six videos.
  • The images alone averaged an engagement rate of 2.43%, compared to @calvinklein's average of 0.42%.
  • The campaign's top five images include all of the sisters together (except for number five, which solely features the OG three elders).

That clearly indicates that while they're individually influential, they're a powerhouse when together. For the Calvin Klein Instagram audience, the girls are a bigger draw when they come as a package.
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Three of this latest campaign's posts make it into the brand's top eight highest performing posts of all time (seen below), while another three from a previous campaign earlier this year are in there as well (in the top two spots, no less). In fact, the latest image that was posted just a couple of days ago has already made its way to @calvinklein's third most engaged post of all time. Is it too early to declare the Kardashian family to be a great choice for the brand? We're calling it.
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The campaign's top performing image was posted just this week, and has already reached an engagement rate of 4.13% (this will likely climb further). It shows the sisters in a tight embrace on a picnic blanket at nighttime—casual. The two images that follow are surprisingly in black and white. Typically, colored images tend to perform better because they're more eye-catching, but not in this case. Shows that the whole black and white thing is truly in CK's DNA.
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The top 3 most viewed videos of all time on the Calvin Klein Instagram account are of the Kardashian sisters, two of those being from this most recent campaign.
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On August 1st, the day that those two black and white shots were posted, along with those top two videos, Calvin Klein added a whopping 24k new followers in a single day. That's ckrazy compared to its daily average of 10.7k.
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Just in case you weren't sure anymore, that was your reminder that the Kardashian family is as influential as ever, helping to give the Calvin Klein Instagram account a serious boost in engagement and hype. Whether or not that translated to sales is another question, but as far as branding is concerned, this was a real win for the iconic, boundary-pushing New York brand.

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