Rolling Stone Accepts Bible Ad

January 27, 2005 by

Zondervan's TNIV Bible adAfter tons of media attention Rolling Stone has reversed their decision and agreed to run the Zondervan Bible ad they originally rejected. It doesn’t always work out this nicely, but the media frenzy gave Zondervan much more publicity than they would have received with the ad alone.

It’s also worth noting how Zondervan reacted from a public relations perspective. While they did express disapointment at the original decision from Rolling Stone and explained the facts of the story, the seem to have avoided making accusations or turning the issue into some sort of culture war. They let columnists pick at the absurdity of the Rolling Stone decision and stuck to the facts.

The PR lesson? Always take the high road. It’s doubtful Rolling Stone would have agreed to run the ad in the end if Zondervan had responded with vehement accusations and finger pointing. Zondervan didn’t lie down and take it either, but they managed to let the facts speak for themselves. In the end it’s been a win-win situation for Zondervan, thanks to wise PR.

Post By:

Kevin D. Hendricks


When Kevin isn't busy as the editor of Church Marketing Sucks, he runs his own writing and editing company, Monkey Outta Nowhere. Kevin has been blogging since 1998 and has published several books, including 137 Books in One Year: How to Fall in Love With Reading, The Stephanies and all of our church communication books.
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5 Responses to “Rolling Stone Accepts Bible Ad”

  • Brad Abare
    January 27, 2005

    I think the reason Rolling Stone decided to accept the ad was because after all the hoopla and publicity (for Zondervan and Rolling Stone), in the end Rolling Stone at least wanted to make some money off the deal!


  • Andy Havens
    January 27, 2005

    Here’s a weird thought I had the other night; is it possible that the whole thing was cooked up, sub rosa, as a publicity stunt? Rolling Stone looks like it’s kinda looking out for the interests of its “non religious” readership, Zondervan gets way more buzz than the ads themselves ever would have generated. And, in the end, Rolling Stone does the right thing. Nobody got all hot and bothered… Nobody said anything dangerously stupid… which is really unusual, and suspicious in and of itself.
    I’m not a conspiracy theorist… but this is just too good to pass up. I’m not sure if I believe my own little theory or not. But I wanted to share this twisted notion with y’all.


  • kevin
    January 27, 2005

    That’s hilarious, Andy! It would be one heck of a coup if someone could pull it off. Though it seems unlikely in today’s day of blogs and such.
    Now James Dobson and SpongeBob? Maybe. ;-)


  • Joel
    January 27, 2005

    I have to agree with Andy, Zondervan aren’t your local church down the street, they are big money media owned by Rupert Murdoch, there would be a lot of PR stunt work going on there, if they think it will broaden their market outside their traditional Christian target market.
    I do notice though that they also are running ads with MTV and other big media. It could be a case of “Let’s push the limits and see what happens . . . ”


  • pts
    February 3, 2006

    It’s amazing how something so simple can become so entangled. Zondervan publishes religious material. They simply wished to promote their product to the ‘next’ generation. Is it odd that they would choose Rolling Stone and MTV to market their products? I think not. And from Rolling Stone’s viewpoint, they do not traditionally promote any sort of religious products. Could it be that the powers that be at Rolling Stone assumed their readership might feel alienated if they ran ‘religious’ add? Amazingly apparent.



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