The Drum Awards for Marketing - Entry Deadline

-d -h -min -sec

Rolling Stone Kim Kardashian John Lennon

Brand of the Day: Rolling Stone


By Rebecca Stewart | Trends Editor

July 15, 2015 | 3 min read

Welcome to Brand of the Day, where we pick the brand making headlines and explain what you need to know about why it's in the news.

Today's brand of the day is Rolling Stone.

Reality star Kim Kardashian West features on the front cover of the latest issue, and the image of her (captured by controversial photographer Terry Richardson) is making waves for all the wrong reasons.

Irish singer-songwriter Sinead O’Connor has urged fans to boycott the title because the publication had, in her words, "murdered" music.

The fortnightly magazine was founded in 1967 by Jann Wenner, who is still the editor-in-chief, and music critic Ralph Gleason.

The creators wanted the title to be "a barometer of the artistic tastes and political sensibilities of the student generation".

John Lennon, in costume as Private Gripweed, featured as the cover star for the first issue.

Ever since, appearances on the front page have been coveted by established and up-and-coming musicians, including Michael Jackson, Bob Dylan and Madonna.

In 1972 Dr Hook and the Medicine Show released a song titled 'The Cover of Rolling Stone', asking why they hadn't made the cut yet; as a result they were featured in caricature on the March 29 1973 cover alongside the caption 'What's-Their-Names Make the Cover.'

However, the title is no stranger to controversy. Celebrities including Janet Jackson, Britney Spears, Kanye West and the True Blood cast have graced the cover in images featuring nudity, gore, religious symbolism and more.

Rolling Stone came under scrutiny in 2013 when it featured a picture of 19-year-old Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, accompanied by the headline 'The Bomber'.

Many said the magazine has chosen to glorify terrorism, and claimed it was trying to depict Tsarnaev as a ‘rock star’. Figures released by the Magazine Information Network indicated that sales of the title doubled when the issue hit shelves.

But it's not all bad, the publisher celebrated its 1000th issue in 2006, and has received high praise for its upfront interviews with President Obama, Mick Jagger and more recently Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin.

Rolling Stone Kim Kardashian John Lennon

More from Rolling Stone

View all


Industry insights

View all
Add your own content +