Prison Bars Change US Style Queen Stewart's Vision

09 March 2005

In a conversion of almost Damascene proportions US style queen Martha Stewart wants her media empire to become more caring and sharing.

During a meeting at her Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia offices in New York, the newly liberated guru of gracious living shared her vision with staff and several reporters.

She wants "to engage and inspire new readers and new viewers". The editorial content of her magazines and TV shows will, in future, explain the "why" not just the "how" of folding dinner party napkins and preparing perfect cookies. Her mission, which she has chosen to accept, is to "make life better" for her devotees and beyond.

Stewart has just completed a five month prison sentence in West Virginia for lying to federal investigators about her share dealings. She is now under house arrest and has to wear an electronic tag.

Cynics, of course, may suggest her pronouncements to be part of a re-branding and marketing exercise for a less-than-squeaky clean reputation and a business empire which has struggled since her arrest and incarceration.

Says John Barker, president of DZP Marketing Communications in New York: "Her prison experience can be used as a new and powerful brand asset. What prison has done is to make her more fallible. There is this opportunity to make Martha more approachable, more empathetic."

Data sourced from New York Times; additional content by WARC staff