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The Economist calls on a new type of targeted reader to "let your mind wander"

The Economist calls on a new type of targeted reader to "let your mind wander"

The Economist magazine is refashioning its image through a major new advertising campaign to appeal to a wider readership. It has launched a cinema commercial, its first in eight years, to dispel preconceived ideas about the magazine's content and ethos.

The commercial is part of a repackaging drive to boost circulation in the magazine's birthplace, the UK, and to emulate the popularity that it enjoys in the US. The campaign calls upon the "intellectually curious" rather than any specified demographic to "let your mind wander".

The purchasing data reflects the different perspectives that people in the US, where the magazine enjoys a younger, more diverse readership, and the UK have of the weekly current affairs publication. In the US, the average subscriber age is 39 whereas in the UK, it is 47.

"In the U.S. they see [the Economist] as cool," Nigel Ludlow, U.K. managing director of the Economist Group, which owns the magazine. "In the U.K., it is a more serious perception."

In the past ten years, the Economist has carved out a following of young professionals in the US, whereas in the UK, the equivalent demographic has perhaps been dissuaded by continued perceptions of a staid content and conservative sympathies.

The majority of the publication's 80 contributors are based in London, yet only 13% of its sales are in Britain. Growth moreover is considerably slower, according to the UK Audit Bureau of Circulation; last year in the UK, sales increased by 3.1%, but by 9% in the US and Canada.

The vivid 70 second commercial, "Red Wires" (the magazine's logo is red) depicts a man in his thirties walking a web of high wires across a European city. The lines reportedly represent the intellectual connections stimulated by a reading of the Economist. The array of background sounds symbolise the issues covered by the publication: a thunder clap suggests of climate change, the Hare Krishna chant intimates articles on religion. The advertising campaign was created by the agent Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO. It will appear from Friday, in cinemas in Bristol, Edinburgh, Manchester, Birmingham and London. It will also be broadcasted on Channel 4's Sunday new's programme.

According to the Guardian, the Economist has always managed to sustain its marketing campaigns during recessions and it is rumoured that under £1 million has been spent on this campaign. To complement the drive for wider exposure, the magazine has just launched a digital edition for the Amazon Kindle. Subscriptions for the weekly downloads are priced at $10.49.

The continued popularity of the Economist in the US and the resources pooled into the creation of the British marketing campaign demonstrate the publisher's conviction that there is a present and current demand in a younger British population, which the magazine has not yet fully exploited, for in depth, intellectual analysis of current affairs. The targeting of a younger professional category moreover, should also rouse the interest of advertisers to use the Economist to access a demographic traditionally viewed as more susceptible to magazine advertising.

Sources: Wall Street Journal
The Guardian
The Economist



Christie Silk


2009-07-03 11:45

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