Michael's Dispatches

Rolling Stone: Boycotting Advertisers

137 Comments

31 March 2011

In 2006, I launched a boycott against a magazine owned by a huge conglomerate.  The Boycott damaged the magazine but the extent was unknown.  Eight months later, the press reported that the magazine had died.  (Early Christmas Present for Michael Yon.)

The boycott was not done on a whim.  The magazine staff and other involved parties had perpetrated a series of egregious behavior before I finally decided to spend time to pursue them.  Such is the case with Rolling Stone.

Rolling Stone has been around for a long time and has weathered many storms.  They may feel invincible.  Rome and the Soviet Union probably felt the same way.  In this world, cities and indeed entire countries go bankrupt.  Powerful billionaire dictators get hunted down and imprisoned, or killed.  In the corporate world, we commonly see the huge and powerful reduced to the latest example of the bigger they are the louder they squeal.  Nobody is invincible.

The boycott of Rolling Stone Magazine advertisers is gaining traction.  The magazine has deceptively attacked US Soldiers and intentionally misled readers for sake of profit and power.

Rolling Stone life-blood is based mostly on advertisement revenues.  Magazine sales off the shelf are not the driving factor.  Advertisement prices are based on circulation and demographics, and they take in a hefty sack of money for a piece of page.

There is limited value in boycotting the magazine itself.  Rolling Stone has an established readership that apparently enjoys mindless gonzo, and even if a hundred thousand people stopped reading, the damage likely would not be seismic.

In 2006, when I took on the magazine that went bankrupt, I studied their business, identified weaknesses, then focused the attacks.  Significant damage was done by people who were upset with the magazine and who began various boycotts, while other damage was caused focusing energy on attacking relationships, which amounted to another form of boycott.

With Rolling Stone, the advertiser base is a mortal weakness.  The concept of the boycott is to concentrate on advertisers and cause them to pull their advertisement dollars and put them elsewhere.  Advertisers with budgets that can cover nearly $200,000 for a single page could care less about Rolling Stone per se; they care about the number of eyes seeing their products, and who those eyes belong to.  When advertisers perceive they are losing money or goodwill from showing their product in that venue, they’ll pluck those dollars and place them elsewhere.  Advertisement executives are just moving chips around on the table, and the boycott goal is to persuade them to move their chips away from Rolling Stone, and of course if they pull their advertisement from Rolling Stone, they can potentially earn goodwill.

It’s important to stress that boycotts against advertisers are temporary until they pull their ads from the perpetrator-space.  In this case, Rolling Stone.

Most salient is the fact that advertisers in Rolling Stone gain benefit only from Rolling Stone readers, while a boycott reaches readers and nonreaders.  The pool of nonreaders will be relatively enormous.

Businesses bleed like people bleed.  If they bleed more blood than they can make, they will eventually die.  You don’t have to squeeze out every drop like a vampire, but usually just a little bit, say, maybe 20% of the advertisement revenue gone might put the magazine in a dramatic tailspin.  You might not notice it for a while because they can take cash infusions and so forth, but sooner or later they will shrivel like a raisin and just lay there.  Dead.

Many people have become angry and loudly complained about Rolling Stone, all to no avail.  The complaints merely egged them on.  It’s time to cool the blood, and with an icy cold resolve, move forward with action.  Boycott their advertisers and crush the Rolling Stone.

It is crucial during the boycott to contact advertisers to express that when the advertiser stops doing business with Rolling Stone, the boycott will end.

First go after the companies with the biggest ads, and also the companies with which you already do business.  Use social networking to share information and when there is success, say it.  Do not hesitate to buy a copy of the magazine to gain information before acting.  Much information is being shared here: Michael Yon Facebook.

Boycotts take little effort.  In 2006, I launched the effort and went back to war coverage.  You don’t have to picket and protest, but just get the word out and let nature take its course.  A strong boycott could be like a bullet with near instant results.  More likely, with Rolling Stone, a persistent but growing boycott might act like a weak neurotoxin.  Just keep dripping it out, and eventually the corporate biology will seize, and there will be spasms, and then, one day, you will open the paper and there it will be, the obituary.

Died: Mr. Rolling Stone, 45, San Francisco.  Born November 9, 1967 San Francisco, California.  Died suddenly last Friday. Mr. Stone was found slouched over an old typewriter after a brain hemorrhage, possibly resulting from an addiction to fiction in a nonfiction world. Services will be held on this Tuesday at 9am at the Church of Bankruptcy.  Burial will be in the dumpster out back behind the courthouse.

Say something here...
You are a guest ( Sign Up ? )
or post as a guest
Loading comment... The comment will be refreshed after 00:00.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Afghan Patriot · 7 years ago
    [Comment removed by Webmaster]
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Claudia Ochsner · 7 years ago
    Dear Michael,

    I looking forward to your next dispatches from Afghanistan. I appreciate your front dispatches very much. In former comments I could read that the new book is soon by me. I am very curious of all the wonderful photographies. No worries, I am patently. So take your time. It's for sure worth to wait of it. I do wish you much luck for the coming tour. Keep up your great work as war corresponder. I know from many troops that they like your honest work very much.

    Respectfully
    Claudia
  • This commment is unpublished.
    American Realist · 7 years ago
    Afghan Patriot - Blow me
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Matt · 7 years ago
    Dear Afghan "Patriot",

    That is the most absurd thing I've heard in a while. A few bad soldiers do not reflect the entirety of the brave and courageous American soldiers who help keep many Afghan civilians safe.

    Just like a few bigoted Afghan religious leaders who abuse and deride women and their human rights don't reflect middle eastern people as a whole.

    The soldiers give their lives so that you can have the ability to speak your weak-minded rhetoric, at least show them some respect and appreciation. But, I doubt you will.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Michelle Hill · 7 years ago
    Afghan Patriot

    You sling your hatred because those soldiers & Marines that you call "paid and stupid volunteer mercenaries with no human moral values." fought to give you freedom of speech. all these people that are out there saying horrible things like this have to remember that you are sitting in front of a computer because they fight not you. They should be so lucky that we don't have the draft anymore.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Mary · 7 years ago
    Jim Beam Whiskey
    Garnier bath products:
    Fructis Shampoo
    Fructis Style
    Nutri Pure
    Moisture Rescue
    Skin Renew
    Anti Sun Damage
    Ultra Lift
    Ultra Lift Pro
    Nutrisse
    Nutrisse Ultra Color
    100% Color
    HerbaShine
    • This commment is unpublished.
      bernietmc · 5 years ago
      Let's see which advertiser has the biggest BBs to pull their ads. Only time will tell. Thanks for supplying the names.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    ElCapitanAmerica · 7 years ago
    I don't understand why you want to boycott Rolling Stone in the 1st place. Again, they put this text NEXT to the video ...
    -------------------------------------
    The clip presented here is excerpted from 'Motorcycle Kill,' a video collected and shared by members of the “kill team” of U.S. soldiers who murdered civilians in Afghanistan and mutilated the corpses. The jumpy, 30-minute video – shot by soldiers believed to be with another battalion in the 5th Stryker Brigade – shows American troops gunning down two Afghans on a motorcycle who may have been armed. Even if the killings were part of a legitimate combat engagement, however, it is a clear violation of Army standards to share such footage. The video was taken on patrol with a helmet-mounted camera; at one point, the soldier shooting the images can be heard boasting, “I got it all on camera.”
  • This commment is unpublished.
    bondud · 7 years ago
    The Middle East should PAY is for being there. TRUMP for PRESIDENT (it was his idea) How many of the Muslim Brotherhood have killed civilians and cut off heads? One wonders why we havent seen this in the Rolling Stone??
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Michael Yon · 7 years ago
    [quote name="Mary"]Jim Beam Whiskey
    Garnier bath products:
    Fructis Shampoo
    Fructis Style
    Nutri Pure
    Moisture Rescue
    Skin Renew
    Anti Sun Damage
    Ultra Lift
    Ultra Lift Pro
    Nutrisse
    Nutrisse Ultra Color
    100% Color
    HerbaShine[/quote]

    Thank you, Mary. I like your style. The time for arguments is over. Time for action.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Ken Glass · 7 years ago
    Spoken like a true European. Please leave.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Austen · 7 years ago
    Has something happened to make you angry Mr Afghan Pathetic? You must be very angry that the Taliban are being destroyed... Imagine mentioning Moral Values and supporting the Taliban at the same time.....
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Ken Haney · 7 years ago
    I'm proud to say that I'm currently serving with the US Army in Afghanistan, 2-2 "Ramrods." I have never read a single idiotic issue of "Rolling Stone" and am glad to join in this boycott effort. Keep up the good work, sir.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Hank · 7 years ago
    Sometimes people and countries need an ass kicking. Other times they need and receive a helping hand with respect. What has taken place in Afghanistan and Iraq filled a need for eliminating an actual and existing threat, Afghan, and a possible threat, Iraq. If you remember back 10 years ago, the US got its nose bloodied. Well guess what? The vast majority of the US and its politicians wanted a piece of someone for 9/11. Revenge, maybe. Ass kicking, definitely. To condemn the deliverers of this mission is stupid. To categorize all the military personnel who have served in this mission is pure BS! It is obvious what side of the shoe you are on.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Hening · 7 years ago
    Rolling Stone gets most of its circulation by free subscriptions based on buying a guitar or dealing with certain retailers. I bought my son a guitar and the magazine started showing up for free as a one year subscription. He tossed the issues out. RS it the citadel of elderly Hippies and forlorn musicians. It the Dorian Gray of the magazine world. I don't use any of the products they advertise, so hopefully just telling the story of what a lame publication it is will help the cause.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Cliff Taylor · 7 years ago
    Thanks to Mary I can join in on "Operation Tumbling Pebble". I had no idea who the advertisers were (I don't read the magazine)- now I do...
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Eric · 7 years ago
    Thank you for posting this list, Mary. Personally, I'm gonna miss my Jim Beam, but maybe it's time to go back to good ol' Jack Daniels! Cheers!
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Doug McGee · 7 years ago
    Thank you Mary, for the partial list of advertisers. I noticed that the list is all women's products, other than Jim Beam Whiskey. I guess you could say that "girly men" could be using Garnier bath products, but does this reflect the main readership of Rolling Stone? Are there other products advertised in RS?
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Laurel · 7 years ago
    Michael, so in support of your efforts and will spread within my network.....have I told you lately that I love you.....just thought you might need that support with all that you are battling with over there......you and I will probably never meet....and God help us if we do....we both have our battles to fight....so glad to have you in on my side......
  • This commment is unpublished.
    David · 7 years ago
    It helps to have it all on camera when the high and mighty press or some other do gooding figure comes around asking questions. Proof of direct threat considering every 2nd motorcycle is rigged with explosives.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Thomas Johnson · 7 years ago
    The sponsor list of Rolling Stone says something about its readers. Drunken narcissists perhaps?
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Josh · 7 years ago
    Afghan Patriot,

    Go away. Your not welcome.

    To everyone else,

    Here in RC-East, Afghanistan we have no problem boycotting these products. However it's going to be an issue boycotting Jim Beam when we return. ;-)

    SSG Kurk, Joshua
    49th EOD
    Orgun-E, Afghanistan
  • This commment is unpublished.
    William Bloom · 7 years ago
    Afghan Patriot... you are a poser. Probably a typical left-wing american who has difficulty with the fundamental decency of the United States.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    whamprod · 7 years ago
    [quote name="Afghan Patriot"]Micheal,
    You maybe able to shut down Rolling stone but can not hide the truth about psychotic American imperial power trying to swallow the world. America did not come to help Afghan people or take on Al-Qaida. America came to Afghanistan for its own geo-Political interests as well as its financial interests. There is no room for you to claim American soldiers as honest, patriotic and freedom defending soldiers. These soldiers are in fact paid and stupid volunteer mercenaries with no human moral values. The pictures speak for themselves.[/quote]
    Another useful idiot. Behead anyone lately, Jihadi?
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Hening · 7 years ago
    I would contact the large musical instrument retailers that give away free subscriptions of RS, and tell them that they are going to be listed and boycotted. They don't advertise, but either pay or front one year free subscriptions to their customers.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    whamprod · 7 years ago
    [quote name="Mary"]Jim Beam Whiskey
    Garnier bath products:
    Fructis Shampoo
    Fructis Style
    Nutri Pure
    Moisture Rescue
    Skin Renew
    Anti Sun Damage
    Ultra Lift
    Ultra Lift Pro
    Nutrisse
    Nutrisse Ultra Color
    100% Color
    HerbaShine[/quote]
    Good gravy! You read this list, and you have to come to the conclusion that most of their readership spends their time drinking whiskey, adjusting their makeup, and primping their hair. [sarcasm]...although there's nothing *wrong* with that...[/sarcasm] :-*
  • This commment is unpublished.
    762x51n8o · 7 years ago
    No kidding we went to Afghan for our own interests -- the backwards country was harboring the terrorists who attacked us. If Afghanistan wasn't allowing terrorists to base their operations out of their country, we wouldn't have attacked.

    You cry like girls because we base our views on Islam off of, what you call, the few that "pervert" Islam, because Islam is peaceful. But then you turn around and judge all Americans and all American Military off of a few idiots who committed a horrible act. Do you see the irony in this?

    Honestly, if terrorists weren't using Afghanistan as a base of operations to "perfert Islam" as you say, no one would give two squirts of piss about the crappy country and backwards people. If people want to live like it's 800A.D., then that's their business.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Dan · 7 years ago
    Eric,
    Might I suggest another Kentucky bourbon instead of that TN pond water? Woodford Reserve is very nice.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    snuffyny · 7 years ago
    I'd really like to participate but I'm gonna have to go buy a copy of the magizine since I already don't buy any of the products listed here.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    American Patriot · 7 years ago
    And just what "financial interests" could be derived from a pathetic, 19th-century backwater place like Afghanistan? I'd suggest that if the folks running the country had not let the terrorists train there, Americans wouldn't be there now. Do I care about the "Afghan people"? Nope. I care about making sure other countries know that there are consequences for letting terrorists set up shop.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Winefred · 7 years ago
    Thanks for the advertiser list, Mary. Guess I'll have to give up my Fructis hair gel, and let them know why. Dear "Afghan Patriot": name me one financial interest that would put the United States in Afghanistan, and I promise to boycott that too. Are you suggesting we're after the opium trade? Trying to corner the goat market? Do tell, please.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Jim · 7 years ago
    Afghan Patriot
    please show me in any army manual where it calls for what those few soldiers did. what we can say is that there is around 164 times in the koran that calls for killing the infidel. wrap your pea brain around that and stop spewing your vial vitriole(sp).
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Usmc Viet Nam · 7 years ago
    Come on out strap on 80 pounds, make split second decisions to save your life, or your buddies life, then see who you are calling names. No one from the press had the balls to be out there like Mr. Yon. Be sure and frame your final issue of Rolling Stone. It may be a collector item among nut bags like you.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Usmc Viet Nam · 7 years ago
    Come on out strap on 80 pounds, make split second decisions to save your life, or your buddies life, then see who you are calling names. No one from the press had the balls to be out there like Mr. Yon. Be sure and frame your final issue of Rolling Stone. It may be a collector item among nut bags like you.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Janice Strpid · 7 years ago
    I am glad you brought it to your readers attention about the RS article's half truths, but I am hesitant to endorse the "killing" of such because of disagreement with its' writers viewpoint. After all what about free press, even if its inaccurate. Isn't that a liberty of democratic values? Better than your cut throat reaction, maybe urging a retraction or clarification from RS on this article would actually be keeping within the spirit of free press. A few sick soldiers acting cruelly are not indicative of our troops mentality and I would hope most of us know that. It's war and bad things happen, but our military does more than what they should to protect civilians and treat the enemy humanely overall, even to the extent of putting our troops at more risk and RS should be made to acknowledge that fact. I didn't like it when you were attacked by bloggers and others in the press..I just think cuthroat behavior is kind of Un-American...
  • This commment is unpublished.
    LarryO · 7 years ago
    Michael,
    Thank you for your continued reporting of the real facts. I find it so difficult to understand why these 60s-70s rags like Rolling Stone continue to report against the efforts of our troops on the ground. Let their "journolists" take point looking for the Taliban and watch their pussy butts run in the opposite direction. They talk so big, yet just continue to talk trash with their typical name calling and empty facts.
    Be safe out there Michael!
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Alex · 7 years ago
    [quote name="Afghan Patriot"]There is no room for you to claim American soldiers as honest, patriotic and freedom defending soldiers. These soldiers are in fact paid and stupid volunteer mercenaries with no human moral values. The pictures speak for themselves.[/quote]

    Who are you, Micheal Moore? You also seem to have no understanding of reality.

    I served in Afghanistan during 2003 clearing mines from Bagram Airbase and the surrounding area with the 27th Engineer Battalion. One Soldier lost his leg, and a civillian and 2 loyal - courageous working dogs with us lost thier lives. Many times we were invited for tea or coffee by the local Afghans who constantly thanked us for removing the mines that had menaced and maimed them for years and killed thier children. Please do not dishoner our service - it is you who are exercising your first amendment right to show your ignorance.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Jim · 7 years ago
    the blather of some like afgan patriot against our army is silly. where in the army manuals does it call for such conduct. but we all know the koran calls for the killing of infidels 164 times + or minus. so who is extreme.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Lorenz Gude · 7 years ago
    Michael - you have often said you are a writer, not a journalist. Journalists are always supposed to be one step removed from the fray. You have a tendency to get involved directly and I say - good for you.

    The MSM puts the meme first and looks for incidents that support it. In this case the My Lai meme, rather than even attempt to report actual new information in a useful way. They deal in truthyness not truth, prefer fear mongering to fact finding. They deserve extinction.

    I learned something else. In my day Rolling Stone was for stoners - not whiskey drinking metrosexuals. Land o' Goshen - What's the world coming to?
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Vic · 7 years ago
    Afghan Patriot: Your learning disability is quite severe. Rolling Stone has and still does stretch/lie about many topics, which is why I quit reading them 30 plus years ago. If we were trying to "swallow" the world, we would own the worlds oil and minerals by now. Note, that Afghanistan has nothing to offer us, but maybe the Kyber Pass, but we could take that at will, if we wished. I know a few Afghan Veterans, having served from 1 to 6 tours and you could not possibly be any further from the truth about them. To you truth and facts are nothing but an inconvience. Seek professional help for yourself and any family that you may have.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    One Sane Man · 7 years ago
    Mister Patriot please tell us why, if America was bent on it's financial interests, would we do anything there in Afghanistan beyond bombing targets and launching missiles.

    We have no financial interest there.

    That argument might work if we attack Iran, but we have plenty of rubble here (The Bronx) already.

    As for our soldiers, the fact that they don't shoot first and sort out the bodies later is all the evidence anyone needs to know they are the most restrained force in the world. They are there for the Afghan people now and our only hope is when we leave they can defend themselves from self-serving fanatics of whom you are apparently one.

    Have a wonderful day and enjoy this life, since I am pretty sure you won't be making it to the next one.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    drarnoldlgoldman · 7 years ago
    Even if you are right, so what. It is NORMAL for countries to pursue their national interests. Helping others is one of ours. If we also benefit, no harm no foul. We need not be ashamed of serving our country first, even while helping another.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    1776 · 7 years ago
    We should all get a good laugh out of "Afghan patriot". He is a Taliban wannabe who will sit at home, gnash his teeth and in the end, accomplish nothing.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Dan Ward · 7 years ago
    Mike, Just heard you on Glenn Beck and then I opened this latest dispatch. Time to send you some more buckos to keep you out there. Thanks for defending the vast vast many of our wonderful troops. Once again it's Vietnam time for the Lefties -- brand 100s of thousands (in Vietnam it was millions) for the actions of a depraved tiny few.

    My quandry is: I bought my favorite sippin' Bourbon (Jim Beam) a few months ago but haven't opened the bottle yet.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Dave Carlton · 7 years ago
    Since Jim Beam is the only product I see being advertised in the Rolling Shit magazine that I used I have just completed and sent an email to the Jim Beam company contact page informing them I will no long purchase their product as long as they support this rag of a magazine with their advertising dollars.

    I would encourage all of Micheals readers to pick out a product they use or have consider using and go the the company web site and locate the "contact" page and notify them of your dissatisfaction with their support of the magazine.

    And oh, Mr. Afghan Patriot, your more than welcome to go joining the Taliban forces since you feel so strongly about their cause and how evil are the United States.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Republicus Maximus · 7 years ago
    I'm having trouble boycotting the advertised products because I never have used any of them in the first place. No foo-foo boy here.
    By the way, want to piss off a muslim? Tell them Jesus Christ created mohammed and allah - which Jesus did as He created everything in the world. :P
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Dev · 7 years ago
    Micheal it is obvious that youy parents are/were dislexic from the spelling of your name. That mental deficiency must be genetic. Or, maybe you just maybe (sic) an idiot of your own volition. I would be interested in your perverted definition of patriotism. But since you must have serious gray matter and possible synapse prolems, perhaps not.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    fjr · 7 years ago
    If Af Pat were a true patriot to their country they'd never say anything so stupid as in the "boycott truth" comment, so logic leads me to believe the Af Pat is a propagandic mouthpiece because surely no one is so stupid to actually believe what Af Pat wrote unless they are blinded by hatred and bent on spewing poison. You bore me Af Pat, couldn't you have come up with something more original? :zzz
  • This commment is unpublished.
    ElCapitanAmerica · 7 years ago
    I can see that, but still is the statement "it is a clear violation of Army standards to share such footage" false?

    Also, the other video is worse because they made it a freaking music video.

    Look, it has little to do with the "Kill Team", but Rolling Stone did at least put that text in there. I'm wondering why Michael doesn't even mention that.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    RhettaD · 7 years ago
    Color me confused, but while our sons and daughters have been risking thier lives so the people of your counrty can have a chance at a real future, what have you been risking? What have you done to help bring your people out of the dark ages and into the light of a progressive and productive future? How many schools have you built? How many orphans have your clothed and feed? How much time have you spent guarding a market so that peopel can live a single day without fear? How many nights have you spent under fire, cold, hungry, and praying for morning and reinforcements? Talk is cheap, a real patriot puts actions to words for the betterment of his country and the world. Ehough said!
  • This commment is unpublished.
    troychief162 · 7 years ago
    My son, who is in Afghanistan, was wounded last summer in an RPG attack on his convoy. Healed up and went back. He put's it better than I could:

    "Yon strikes me as a good guy, unfortunate I've never met him."

    "Interesting point about "excessive force" in a combat zone. I say it's only excessive if it disables a US Soldier in the process, anything less is not enough force in my book. It is utterly beyond me why some people insist that we cede what few distinct advantages we have in these combat operations. The enemy already gets to chose the time, the place, and the intensity of the engagement, and it seems like there are far too many doves out there that feel the need to make up all these other little rules and guidelines to try and endanger careers and jeopordize lives all for the sake of feeling better about the killing they'll never have to do."

    "Frustrating."

Reader support is crucial to this mission. Weekly or monthly recurring ‘subscription’ based support is the best, though all are greatly appreciated.  Recurring and one-time gifts are available through PayPal or Authorize.net.

supp

supp

subscribe

My BitCoin QR Code

This is for use with BitCoin apps:

189

You can now help support the next dispatch with bitcoins:

Donate Bitcoins