By Kristen Harlow, @KrisEveHarlow
The reason I clicked on the article titled “Jann Wenner Sells 49% of Rolling Stone to Singapore’s BandLab” was solely because it contained the words “Rolling Stone” in it. When it comes to shares and holdings of companies, I usually don’t care and scroll past the information. I only began to read this particular article (which is here, by the way) because I sometimes like to think of myself as punk-rock, and what punk-rock young adult isn’t at least semi-interested in Rolling Stone? As it turns out, me. I’m not as grunge as I’d like to think I am. Go figure. The good news though is that I’m a huge fan of advertising, and the article was related a hot topic in the ad world: staying relevant. See, Wenner sold 49% of Rolling Stone to Kuok Meng Ru, the son of an Asian billionaire, in order to stay relevant in today’s massively online culture.
Picture of Kouk Meng Ru
Why did Wenner sell 49% of Rolling Stone to Meng Ru, you ask? Because Meng Ru has created an up-and-coming musical social media platform- called BandLab -that is tailored to musicians and music fans. Rolling Stone is grappling to stay relevant and present in today’s digital world. However, Rolling Stone isn’t the only one who faces that problem. Plenty of magazines, newspapers, and other paper-based publications are struggling to maintain viewership/ readership.
I’d venture to say that almost every (good) advertiser strives to create content that isn’t ruled by just one medium, especially not print. People in advertising are tasked with creating ads that aren’t defined through one particular avenue, that way the reach is further, more frequent, and its relevance is up to date. Following this line of thinking, Rolling Stone is making a huge step in the right direction, in my opinion. I think pairing with a social media platform that targets musicians and music-lovers is a wise step for Rolling Stone and could potentially generate a lot of buzz and continued readership, if only they make solid digital connections with online viewers, and create new forms of guerilla marketing. If I was in charge, that’s what I would be doing anyways; avoiding moss growing on the creative stone.
If one day I’m fortunate enough to own and operate my own advertising firm, we’ll create ads and campaigns that aren’t defined by one medium. They’ll be creative, fun, and maybe even interactive. And we will be successful.
Mark my words.