Paid Social Media Marketing Best Practices, Fashion

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Fashion Paid Social Media Campaigns

Two paid social media campaigns that covered denim fashion are Levi's which is moving into digital media with sports and Calvin Klein, a high-end jeans company with controversial ads.


  • Levi's jeans are sold in over 100 countries, with about 50,000 retail locations, including at department stores, specialty retailers and through mass merchants. They also have 2,900 branded stores and shop-in-shops, 750 of which are company-operated stores, according to Levi's most recently published annual report.
  • Levi Strauss & Co. is focusing on sports marketing.
  • In 2013, Levi's purchased the naming rights to the San Francisco 49ers' stadium. That was the beginning of Levi's movement into sports sponsorship. This has helped bring the brand to life.
  • The blue jean giant is embracing emerging digital marketing methods like social media, using athletes who have evolved into influencers. As athletes connect with their fans through social media, Levi is working with athletes to produce content for social media.
  • The company is looking to link itself to pop-culture as well.

  • NBA — Levi's Instagram page features a picture of Blake Griffin of the Detroit Pistons.
  • NBA — Levi's sponsored a pop-up experience called "The Drop-Up" that brought together athletes, influencers, musicians, and fans to show how "the stadium tunnel has become the new men's runway in displaying the latest fashions."
  • NFL — Anquan Boldin, a wide receiver for the 49ers and Vernon Davis a tight end for the Redskins are both featured in ads for Levi's.
  • MLB — Instagram has a number of pictures of Levis set up to imprint custom All-Star game jackets.
  • On the pop-culture from Levi's has been linked to Coachella, Star Wars, Justin Timberlake and the hit TV show Stranger Things.
  • The CEO of Levi's has stated that "The very best marketing, going all the way back to the beginning of time, is word-of-mouth, and today that is Instagram and Snapchat ........ That’s how consumers are learning about things, and shoppable social media is coming really, really fast. We’ve got to be all over that. That’s how to connect with young consumers."

  • In 2018, combined revenues of the value brands grew 29 percent in fiscal 2018.
  • Levi's revenue in 2018 grew 14% to $5.6 billion, the most substantial increase in over 25 years. It also ended the year with a 15% jump in operating income and a wider gross margin.
  • In the same year, Levi's spent $400.3 million on advertising. According to Boston Consulting Group the average digital media spend in fashion is 30% on media and 21% on performance, for a total of 51% percent. That means Levi's spent approximately $204.153 million on digital media in 2018.



  • On November 19, 1980, the CBS network banned a Calvin Klein ad featuring a 15-year-old Brooke Shields posed quite seductively in skin-tight designer jeans. In one of the advertisements, Brooke asked, "Do you know what comes between me and my Calvins? Nothing." The tag line for the campaign was, "Nothing comes between me and my Calvins."
  • Calvin Klein brand no longer needs TV; it has a Facebook Page, an Instagram account, a Twitter feed, a YouTube channel, and will be using TikTok.

  • Calvin Klein is still using sexually controversial ads to promote its brand.
  • In 2019, Calvin Klein's newest social media campaign has the tag line, "Get between #MyCalvins and me." Examples of that campaign can be seen here.
  • Calvin Klein stopped advertising in print in February 2019. They have adopted a "digital-first, socially amplified model". They also included a vibrant video element.
  • A review of their current media platforms — Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube — show a coordinated and integrated digital-media campaign with similar messages on each platform.
  • The brand is posting almost exclusively on its social media platforms and is working with micro-influencers.
  • It is also using some of their iconic brands and linking them to their jeans — e.g., their CK One fragrance.
  • Their shift to digital and social media is an effort to target millennials and Gen Zer's. Those consumers are more likely to use social platforms and less likely to read print. Younger consumer's attention is more likely to be grabbed by authentic, unique experiences, especially when it is linked to their social media.
  • Calvin Klein has a YouTube channel with ads that echo the message "Get between me and #MyCalvins." It is also planning to use TikTok, a platform used by Gen Z, to show short-form mobile videos.

  • Calvin Klein reported disappointing results for Q3 2018.
  • Their Q2 2019 financial reporting showed a 6% drop in Calvin Klein revenue. This drop was impacted by the winding down of a wholesale business and the closure of an old brand. It is too soon to determine the financial effect of the digital media campaign.
  • In 2018, Calvin Klein spent $380 million globally on advertising and promotion. With the same 51% average on digital spend, the company spent $193.8 million on digital media. 40% of that was refunded to the company by licensees and other authorized brand users.
  • It is, however, considered a success in the social media world. A review in an international newspaper stated: "... campaign is gaining viral traction on Instagram (which is replacing the fashion street-style blog in terms of relevance), Twitter and Facebook."


According to the website, the Fashion Network, social media has become the cornerstone of marketing strategies for most fashion brands. Its role in engaging potential customers becomes stronger each year as more and more consumers become active on its various platforms. GreenBuzz agency analyzed the use by fashion brands of social media and found that platforms like Twitter, Pinterest, Snapchat, YouTube, and Instagram are especially prevalent. In searching for reviews from digital marketing sites to find fashion brands with successful campaigns, we found numerous articles on the use of social media by both Levi's and Calvin Klein. We settled on those two brands to create case studies for fashion denim.