Saturday, July 20, 2013

Profit, Good - Rolling Stone, Bad

I am an old fashioned American. I like profit. The profit motive is what allows the country to flourish, when the government has the good sense to get out of the way and let people run businesses unmolested. Almost everyone wants to succeed, have a nice house, and give their kids a better life than they had. That is a good and admirable state of mind.

Each individual has to decide for themselves how they will try to, successfully, make a profit. Some will work for others. Some will wish to start their own business. If you are inclined to start a business a big decision will be what type of business to go into. If you are a doctor, dentist, or lawyer, the decision is pretty obvious. If you just have a need to be your own boss, it is way more complicated.

A person must balance the own skill set, availability of financial support, public need, location, and a thousand other things to come to a good decision. Even if one does all the homework, the odds are against success. One of the items that need consideration is the way your business will appear to the public. In the mind of those that know you, you will be your business and your business will be you. I see a gentleman on TV on occasion who owns and operates a bordello in Nevada. He is unabashed, proud of his business, and entertaining to listen to. Most people could not be him. I will admit, I always wanted to run a bar/restaurant. I never got the courage to try. It takes a special person to take that chance.

So, assuming you picked a business, had adequate capital, went through the paroxysms of getting said business up and running, now you need customers. Let us suppose that this little business that you started is a magazine. Maybe you felt that a narrowly targeted magazine appealing to a special group that are interested, motivated and are willing to spend money is the business that suits you. So you advertise. Give special offers on subscriptions. You arrange distribution. And you put the best, most attractive, artwork that you can afford on your cover. You want people to love your product. You want them to love it so much that they demand it. 

Older people will remember Life Magazine. They were enormously successful for many years partly because their cover pictures attracted readers. And those covers were all black and white photos. The covers of an equally successful Saturday Evening Post were often reproductions of paintings by the inimitable Norman Rockwell. Both magazines played to their audience perfectly. In their day, their readership numbers proved it.

So along comes Rolling Stone. They took their name from an eternally popular rock band. I assume they felt this would give them instant creds in their target demographic. It seems that it did. In the liberal rock genre they were the bible. Their covers were artistic renditions of rock royalty. They became iconic. Then some genius decided to try to make a god of a jihadist Muslim terrorist who killed Americans with bombs. In my estimation that one cover destroyed any credibility they had. They are now the magazine that celebrates evil on their front page. Some people will do anything to make a buck. They will even destroy their own image. My deepest respect goes to those retailers that had the integrity to refuse to display or sell this loathsome product. I hope everyone refuses to buy it.

No comments:

Post a Comment