If you read this blog before you’ll know I’m a fan of Annie Leibovitz. I also happen to love Angelina Jolie for a whole lot of reasons. I’m not into the whole Louis Vuitton “brand yourself as middle class by hanging a bag that spells its label on your shoulder” kind of thing, but that’s irrelevant: they are at this point in time the world’s biggest luxury brand, ahead of Hermes.
And yet, despite this formidable partnership comes a floppy campaign, based on a lie, bad Photoshopping and a complete disconnect between the brand values and the said campaign.
On Monday, the news was out that Angelina was the latest in a series of celebrities to take part in Vuitton’s “Core Values” campaign. The photo, by the way, is currently the full screen background for the Louis Vuitton website, followed by this video about Angelina’s trip to Cambodia to shoot the Core values image and by a plethora of other little inspirational movies about journeys and discovery.
So what’s wrong with this picture?
It doesn’t take a genius to figure out the claims about Angelina wearing no make-up are rubbish – just have a look at this screenshot from one of the videos mentioned above: one can plainly see the brown eyeshadow, the eyeliner, the nude lipstick.
The colour scheme of the image has also been photoshopped – I doubt Cambodia vegetation comes in poisonous green – and the pose of the ad is disturbingly unnatural. Moreover, a skeletal Jolie is reminiscent, in a horrible way, of the infamous Ralph Lauren disaster, where model Filippa Hamilton’s head was actually wider than her waist.
Visual complaints aside, what bothers me most is the fact they are trying to force a connection between Angelina’s values (you know what I’m talking about – UNESCO, helping third world countries, etc) and the Louis Vuitton long-standing status as snobbish symbol of middle class prosperity. The combination is disturbing and wrong.
Which brings me to the morale of this little post; you cannot suddenly reverse years of promoting your brand’s values. It takes more than an expensive campaign – people aren’t stupid, and they’re more critical than ever before. So you’d better make bloody sure you know what your values as a brand are, and your stated values are the same as your manifest ones.
And now I have to go look at something sane to wash away the disgusted feeling this campaign has left me with.