Angelina Jolie has not appeared in a St. John advertisement for over a year at least. She has been dropped out by the clothing line when her huge contract run out. But St. John still blamed her for "overshadowing" the brand.
In the words of St. John's chief executive officer Glenn McMahon:
"(Jolie) overshadowed the brand. We wanted to make a clean break from actresses and steer away from blondes and cleanse the palette."
To introduce the new look, they hired the redhead supermodel Karen Elson.
"We needed to show a modern point of view of St. John. We have evolved" McMahon said.
Photographed by Greg Kadel in a bare studio for the spring campaign, Karen Elson stunned in pale-white skin and purple-red hair. The ads were directed by executive vice president of design George Sharp and will be launched in the February issues of Vogue, Vanity Fair, and Harper's Bazaar.
"St. John is moving forward," as the company puts it.
According to McMahon, the print media buy for St. John is up slightly and he is in talks about digital outreach, spending on which he predicts will be up 15 percent.
But people who know St. John, as much as they know Angelina Jolie and Karen Elson, believe that the problem is not on using celebrities to represent the brand but on the fact that St. John's target demographic is old, rich women.
So instead of using even amazingly beautiful women like Angelina Jolie or Karen Elson, the brand should put much older celebrities or models like Carmen Dell'Orefice who will look stunning and aristocratic in its ads. On the other hand, if St. John is serious about reaching a younger classy demographic, the sophisticated but not gossip-magnet Daria Werbowy might do the trick.
And if St. John really wants to move forward, the brand should not attach itself to Angelina Jolie when introducing the new look. It has been more than 18 months since the A-list celebrity has appeared for its advertisement. St. John should not make reference to her or Angelina Jolie might once again overshadow the brand, with her name.