What the Man Who Invented The Rolling Stones Can Teach You About Branding

Oldham was manager and producer of the Stones from 1963 until 1967.
Oldham was manager and producer of the Stones from 1963 until 1967.

From AdWeek:

Andrew Loog Oldham, the manager and producer of the Rolling Stones from 1963 until 1967, still considers his work in branding the world’s greatest rock band—he essentially built their image from the ground up—to be all but unsurpassed.

Oldham did PR work in the early ’60s for Bob Dylan and the Beatles. But the Rolling Stones were his blank canvas, and he turned them into legends. Oldham started out in the fashion industry, and he used that experience relentlessly as he crafted the band’s image—moving them first from the kind of matching outfits that the Beatles favored to their own, less uniform way of dressing.

“The Beatles looked like they were in show business, and that was the important thing,” he said. “And the important thing for the Rolling Stones was to look as if they were not.”

He had the band add “(I Can’t Get No)” to the title of the song that was originally called simply “Satisfaction,” to more explicitly broadcast its darker theme. He also added a seemingly random comma to the song title on the single for “Paint It Black”—making it “Paint It, Black.” That was a sly publicity move, too.

Oldham also helped to art direct the band’s album covers, beginning with their very first, self-titled record. Oddly, the band’s name didn’t appear on the front of the record—which was all part of Oldham’s plan to build a mystique around them.

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