‘Rolling Stone’ Hones Diatribes

Latest work includes attack on Ogilvy’s drugs-and-terror ads

Bartle Bogle Hegarty’s latest trade print ads for Rolling Stone take on rap music, selling out and the war on drugs. And advertising itself takes a few hits as well.

Six new executions, the first of which broke last week, again take the form of handwritten diatribes. But now there’s a tagline—”All the kids are doing it”—and the topics are more current and wide-ranging. The effort began in 2002 with ads about the music industry, from aging rock stars to rich record executives.

“We’re just expanding the message out a little bit from rock ‘n’ roll to youth culture,” explained Kevin McKeon, executive creative director at the New York shop. Or, as Wenner Media general manager Kent Brownridge put it, “Phase two is a more immediate, practical and commercial set of subjects.”

One ad, which RS publisher Jann Wenner helped craft, sarcastically attacks the government’s ad campaign equating buying marijuana with supporting terrorism. “That’s the perverse exaggeration the desperate lot running America’s successful war on drugs has introduced to the deranged dope fiend,” the copy reads, adding, “Stoners may be high, but they’re not stupid.”

The drugs-and-terror campaign, created by Ogilvy & Mather, is winding down this month [Adweek, Feb. 17]. Ogilvy declined comment on the RS work, but a rep for the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy said, “Hasn’t anyone told them the ’60s are over? It’s kind of pathetic that they’re resorting to ‘stoner chic’ to try to recapture the youth market.”

Another RS execution quotes Jerry Garcia and suggests it’s OK to sell a song to “some ad guys,” noting, “People are hearing your music, and that’s the point right?” The ad about rap skewers those who dismissed the genre as a fad.