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Wick Allison’s Raspberry Secret Is Out

This makes me really happy. An anonymous prankster has just made my morning.

Every month, with the publication of each new issue of D Magazine, I write a letter to our good, strong advertisers. I let them know what’s going on at the magazine, the reasoning behind some of our editorial decisions, that sort of thing. This month, I explained how a raspberry came to grace our December cover. You see, that raspberry in the lower left-hand corner doesn’t really exist. Or it didn’t exist when Kevin Marple took the picture of the cake from Sissy’s. We dropped it into the image digitally. Why? Here’s how I explained it to our advertisers:

What happened was, creative director Todd Johnson and I were working on the cover when the owner of D Magazine, Wick Allison, strolled into Todd’s office.

“What do you think?” I asked him.

“It needs a raspberry,” Wick proclaimed.

Todd and I rolled our eyes and made exasperated noises like 14-year-old girls who’d just been asked to put away all the clothes on their bedroom floor.

“Wick,” Todd said, “we can’t just drop a raspberry on the photo. The cake doesn’t come with a raspberry.”

“It should,” Wick said. “Everyone knows that. Look, I don’t even like raspberries myself, but that’s what people want with chocolate cake. A raspberry will add 10 points.”

He was talking now about newsstand sales, which we measure in copies.

“Ten points?” I said. “You mean, like, a touchdown and field goal? You’re saying if we stick a raspberry on there, we can make this a two-possession game?”

There comes a point in nearly every conversation with Wick Allison when the next word that you utter, no matter what it is, will get you fired. We’d reached that point in our raspberry discussion.

Thus was a digital raspberry dropped onto the cover. Our complement to Sissy’s chocolate cake.

I hasten to add that Wick started this magazine in 1974. He has forgotten more about publishing than Todd or I will ever forget or pretend that we learned. What I’m saying is, for all I know, Wick was right. I put up a poll yesterday asking FrontBurnervians to vote on which cover they liked best, the one we published or another option we’d considered. As it stands right now, the voting is tied. One hundred and seventeen people picked the cake cover, and 117 picked option No. 2, a picture of Lisa Garza. The raspberry might have done that. Without the raspberry, Lisa Garza might have trounced the cake. The raspberry, in fact, might have added 10 points.

Which brings us to my happy discovery this morning. Someone who apparently read that letter to our advertisers has launched a Tumblr called Drop a Raspberry On It. The slogan: “Adding ten points one raspberry at a time.” You’ve got to check out some of the D Magazine covers onto which this person has dropped a raspberry. In each case, there is no question that 10 points has been put on the scoreboard. I challenge this prankster to press onward with the raspberries. Onto what else besides D Magazine covers ought they be dropped?