Rolling Stone Magazine, early years of advertising

Rolling Stone Magazine, early advertising

Back in the '70s, the notorious anti-establishment, self-proclaimed gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson was managing editor of Rolling Stone. He authored a subscription renewal letter that was completely different from what any other magazine had ever contemplated.

The letter, short and to the point, declared that Rolling Stone was Thompson's only legitimate source of income. It went on to say that if you didn't respond, he would be thrown into utter despair and probably wind up in Needles, California, "sucking from a nitric oxide tank down to the bottom death blast of freon, listening to German tourists describe their coyote sightings."

Basically, Thompson threatened the recipient, demanding a response, or else. To underline the warning, the outside envelope featured "I KNOW WHERE YOU LIVE," scrawled in large handwriting across the front. Not your everyday Time or Newsweek renewal letter, to be sure.

This direct mail subscription effort was a huge success, and Rolling Stone used it the entire time Thompson was on the payroll. It was so much fun to read. So different. So Hunter Thompson. So exciting.
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