It was an in joke for fans… an obscure print ad in London’s Hackney Gazette that has proved the power of print.
Now Rolling Stones fans and others have “got it”, and have been asking for souvenir copies of the paper.
This is the ad, above, which presents as a promotion for a glass repair firm, but in fact revealed the title of the Stones’ newest album, a tribute to drummer Charlie Watts, who died in 2021 aged 80.
For those who recognised them, the clues were there, in the 1500-circulation Gazette ad. Familiar lines such as ‘our friendly team promises you satisfaction’ and ‘when you say gimme shelter we'll fix your shattered windows’… as well as the dot on the word Diamonds. The website and telephone number led to the launch event in the Hackney Empire, providing it eternal glory.
The ad’s “brand”, Hackney Diamonds – local slang for broken glass, especially the shards following the smashing of a window – has of course been identified as the title of the latest Stones’ album.
Print Power’s Ube Jelluma suggests that, “given the enormous publicity caused by the ad”, it should go up for a one-off effectiveness award at the Cannes Lions Festival. We agree.