Digital Advertising Industry News


Dropping Print For Digital: Calvin Klein Says Goodbye To Magazine Ads

December 31, 2018 Victoria Pallien

Calvin Klein (CK), an American fashion line known for iconic denim and must-have intimates, announced they will say goodbye to print campaigns. No more luxurious, glossy magazine spreads in Vogue, Elle or Cosmo. Though CK print ads are an advertisement staple sure to be sorely missed by readers, CK knows the digital age isn’t a phase; it’s here to stay.

Calvin Klein’s Hyper-Focus On Younger Consumer

As of February 2019, Calvin Klein will focus purely on digital marketing in response to lower-than-expected revenue for Q3 2018. The brand stated that any future involvement of print ads will be executed as a complement to their digital strategy.

Calvin Klein will present more on social media and digital channels to reach Millennials and Gen Zers, generations who are less likely to invest in print magazines. In the current age, Instagram influencers may reach more consumers than a two-page ad spread does.

The fashion industry was a traditionally print realm that came alive within the thick pages of fashion publications. But now, it’s going digital, proving a huge sway in the way consumers take in content.

Digital Influence Over-Powers Print Publications

Calvin Klein’s shift is a heavy blow to the already struggling print publication world, notable because of CK’s influential and buzz-worthy advertising. The Association of Magazine Media reported print ad spend for the 50 biggest advertisers in 2017 fell to $6.1 billion from $6.5 billion in 2016, meaning magazines lost roughly 6.2% in print ad revenue.

digital influence social media shopping

But big advertisers aren’t disappearing altogether, they’re simply making the shift to digital. Social media sites are rolling out more shopping features, like Instagram’s shoppable tags in posts and stories, which encourage more fashion brands to move digital.

In light of the shift in consumer content consumption, many magazines are swiftly taking on digital strategies. Take a look at Hearst Publications, the parent company of many popular fashion and lifestyle magazines like Esquire, Town & Country and Elle Decor, as an example:

  • Esquire’s content and ad teams are putting their eggs in the SEO basket, focusing on buzz words and celebrity profiles for its style segment, which has resulted in a 7% increase in total audience due to increased mobile web traffic last year.
  • Town & Country magazine grew so rapidly online last year that it pushed itself into the top 10 magazines for mobile web, with a monthly active user (MAU) base increase of 75% and overall audience growth of 37%.
  • In 2017, Elle Décor saw a 548% increase in video views and total audience growth of 20%.

This year, digital ad sales increased by 17%, supporting the argument that digital advertising may be the necessary direction of the fashion industry.

CK’s switch to digital-first marketing paves a challenging path for print publications and reinforces the idea that the investment in digital channels may be the future of fashion advertising. As social media becomes a top priority, Calvin Klein bids print ads adieu, making more space for a compelling and effective digital strategy in 2019.

For more fashion marketing news, read Stitch Fix: A Data Story Based on Consumer ROI.

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About the Author

Victoria Pallien

Victoria Pallien is a Marketing Communications Writer at Digital Media Solutions (DMS), the fastest-growing independent digital performance marketing company. DMS helps its clients accelerate growth by deploying diversified and data-driven customer acquisition solutions that deliver scalable, sustainable and measurable marketing results. DMS performance marketing solutions connect the right consumers with the right offers at the right time to achieve the marketing objectives of our clients. DMS is continually innovating to provide new and emerging media and technology solutions that minimize waste and maximize results across the most competitive industries. Since its inception, DMS has demonstrated incredible year-over-year growth which has earned recognition on the Inc. 5000 list in 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018.

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