The Economist

Discomfort Futures

Challenging misconceptions to attract new loyal readers.

In order to drive new subscribers, money-off deals might work in the short term, but once the offer ends, customers often disappear too. To attract the right people (those that would stick) there could be no shortcuts; we had to be frank about what The Economist really is – a mind-stretching and challenging read.

Our global strategy – ‘Discomfort Futures’ – positioned The Economist as an advocate for change, embracing uncomfortable future trends. Impactful but polarizing experiences in busy commuter hubs, offices, universities, and events all sought to filter out those that fitted with The Economist and those who didn’t.

Editorial topics focusing on global sustainability led to some of the most standout creative ideas – like serving commuters with insect ice cream and crepes, smoothies made with ugly food rejected by grocery stores, plant burgers that bled, and coffee made from waste-water. All those who were open-minded enough to go for it were deemed the right fit for the brand and were encouraged to sign up for a subscription.

Our approach led to an ‘always on’ global program of campaigns, all bringing to life The Economist coverage of topics shaping the future of our world.

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Less agreement with “The Economist produces dry and boring content”

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Subscriptions from activations in 14 countries


Global Awards

“It has been fantastic to see results continually improving through the campaign. We now see experiential as our key to marketing in the real world. Sense has taken this campaign concept to the next level, building a solid success case study that is currently feeding into our future experiential marketing strategy.”

Marina Haydn, Managing Director, Global Circulation, The Economist