By now most of you have heard Rolling Stone magazine generated controversy by featuring bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on the cover of its magazine as some tasty link bait. They then hid behind journalistic integrity like the cowards they are, not seeing the irony in link bait as being anything but journalistic integrity.
Regular people (you know: the consumer, the intended target, the potential readers of Rolling Stone, etc.) reacted with outrage on social media, and even created a Facebook Page to boycott them.
Now, I know, I know. I can hear you saying already: these boycotts never go anywhere. Right?
We have decided to not sell the current issue of Rolling Stone, out of respect for the victims and their loved ones.
— CVS/pharmacy (@CVS_Extra) July 17, 2013
Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us. Walgreens will not be selling this issue of Rolling Stone magazine.
— Walgreens (@Walgreens) July 17, 2013
@inspired_social Thanks for reaching out: our stores were instructed to remove the issue of Rolling Stone from all locations this morning.
— Cumberland Farms (@cumberlandfarms) July 17, 2013
Out of respect to everyone affected by the Boston Marathon bombing, Rite Aid has decided not to sell the latest issue of Rolling Stone.
— Rite Aid (@riteaid) July 17, 2013
And my favorite, not from a brand, but from Boston's Mayor, Jake Tapper:
More Mayor Menino to Rolling Stone: "To respond to you in anger is to feed into your obvious marketing strategy..."
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) July 17, 2013
For years, Adland has been shouting it to all those have have fallen under the spell of a Social Media Guru: you can be a huge social media winner and still not sell your product. Talk does not translate into sales or views. No matter what the media channel, "Don't Be An Asshole" will always apply.
But Rolling Stone gets an extra special gold star today. Because they not only not selling product thanks to their actions, but they managed to tarnish their brand in the process. Congrats!
And to the brands whose tweets we posted and the those we haven't because more are joining in by the minute, we say: Good Job.