St Johns Blog

St Johns Vintage Ads through the Years

Time was when men were men, and their colognes knew it.

We took a look at some really unique and interesting advertisements we found in the archives recently and can’t help but remark on how entertaining these must have been in their time. Actually, they are still quite entertaining and well crafted. 

The 1970’s

“Wear St Johns and be on the side of the angels”

A nice nod to Charlie’s Angels with the subtext that our West Indian Lime Cologne will break down a woman’s resistance to you.  This ad is pretty straightforward and the visual clearly implies that if you wear St Johns, pretty girls in bikinis will be hanging all over you.  This ad was very successful and struck the right chord for young guys in the 70’s.

The 1960’s

“This one makes you smell like a man”

Read the copy on this ad carefully and thoroughly. It begins “Hundreds of products make a man smell pretty….”.  I love this ad because it begins with a statement about the men’s grooming landscape and then it zeros right in to what defines St Johns: it makes you smell like a man!

These were the days of Steve McQueen, Lee Marvin, Sean Connery and Howard Hughes.  Guy’s guys.

Go to the first paragraph of copy and it becomes even more clear who the St Johns guy is and how he feels about men’s fragrances. “Do you know what girls think about men who smell pretty? Exactly what you think about men who smell pretty.”

The 1950’s

“Not every man can wear St Johns”

St Johns was conceived as a masculine brand but in the 50’s it wasn’t enough to be just a man, you had to be a certain kind of man. This was the era of the post war rugged individual. Whether he was conquering the corporate world, riding the range or jockeying jets, he could kick ass, take names and do all in less than 4 words.  That kind of man was “barely noticeable, highly effective, not wholly civilized”. God love him.

Note: an 8oz bottle costs $3.00!


Unapologetically Masculine

So where is our creative messaging now, in 2023?  Most brands are hesitant to stake a claim as that stake is so easily moved and more times than not, driven into the ground in the wrong spot. The St Johns stake is an easy one to find and to center around. We are a guy’s brand and proud of it. Our products are designed to appeal to men and to make them more pleasant and appealing to women. We love, admire and respect women but we are a masculine brand.

And we make no apologies for it.

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