On To The Next Hunk: Idris Elba Stars For Calvin Klein

Actor Idris Elba may be wearing more clothes for his Calvin Klein campaign than last month’s underwear ads starring Jeremy Allen White. But the apparel company has made sure this second installment of its spring menswear campaign is just as attention-getting.

Photographer Mert Alas shot and directed the campaign, which follows Elba as he saunters through the streets of London wearing the brand’s classic trench coat, layering in minimalist clothing in tailored wool, sateen and cotton. But while Alas’ underwear spot was full of hot anatomical closeups, Elba’s vibe is pure cool.

Ads are running now on the company’s social channels, and it plans out-of-home placements in global markets, including billboards on Houston Street in New York and La Cienega in Los Angeles. A company spokesperson tells Marketing Daily that out-of-home is also scheduled for London, Milan, Madrid, and Berlin.



The new campaign is Elba’s first appearance for the brand. Elba, best known for his role as “Luther,” also stars in ads for Uber Eats and has previously appeared in spots for Booking.com.*

The launch of the White ads last month, just as the actor and “The Bear” stormed the awards shows, sparked the kind of internet frenzy that doesn’t come along very often, even for Calvin Klein. (Admit it. By comparison, Justin Bieber is just meh.) Those spots even inspired a spoof from Away Luggage, which scrambled to find underwear big enough to fit its extra-large wheelie bags.

Calvin Klein is owned by PVH, which is in the midst of an extensive transformation plan. The New York-based company has vowed to make Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger “the most desirable lifestyle brands in the world,”  it says in a note to investors.

That’s also meant cleaning out the portfolio, and the company recently unloaded its intimates brands, including Olga, Warners and True & Co., for $160 million.

In its most recent quarterly results, PVH says Calvin Klein’s sales rose to $1.02 billion, up 6% from $966.5 million in the third quarter of 2022. But sales slipped a bit in North America, falling to $375.5 from $380.2 million in the year-ago period, hurt by a decrease in the wholesale business.
*An earlier version of this story should have said that Elba is not currently appearing in Booking.com's advertising.

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