Growing a brand by persuading people out of their comfort zone

Brand challenge

To attract new, loyal readers to The Economist, providing direct positive ROI.


Money off and deals might work in the short term, but once the offer ends, customers often disappear too. To get the right people (that would stay with the brand) there were no shortcuts; we had to be frank about what The Economist really is – a dense and challenging read. Discomfort Future positioned The Economist as an advocate for change, embracing uncomfortable future trends. The campaign presented people with provocative ideas, to filter out those that fitted with The Economist and those who didn’t.


Our activation set up a challenge: we offered people ice cream and crepes enriched with insects, smoothies made with ugly food rejected by supermarkets and coffee made with water from a portaloo. All those who were open minded enough to go for it, were the right fit for the brand and were encouraged and signed up to a trial of the magazine.

over 27,500 subscriptions, 100% against target
ROI: 171% with a customer life time value of £1.7m
60% post promotional offer retention rate, 240% against target



Branching out naturally to be relevant with a new audience

Glacéau vitaminwater

Providing a real platform for creative talent

Coors Light

Getting ‘Damme’ cool to genuinely refresh millennials

Guitar Hero Live

Turning a festival activation up to 11


Reintroducing people to nature nearby, planting the seed of saving the planet

EDF energy

Experimenting with innovation to get girls curious about science

John Frieda

Letting our hair down to launch a revolution

My Little Pony

Taking the magic of Equestria on tour, to keep kids playing