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 mind-stretching yet challenging read. Discomfort Futures 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, burgers that bleed made from plants 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 100,000 global subscriptions, 100% against target
ROI: 171% with a customer life time value of £1.7m
60% post promotional offer retention rate, 240% against target
economist Discomfort Future bugs insect ice cream
the economist waste food smoothies future forces sense
the economist waste food smoothies future forces sense
the economist future forces sense
the economist insect ice cream future forces sense
the economist fast forward food tacos future forces sense
the economist coffee future forces sense
the economist insect crepes future forces sense

Hands On London

Wrapping up London’s icons

Dead Man’s Fingers


Cobra beer flavour rooms food festival experiential


Hunger for Fresh Thinking

innocent treehab coconut water experiential


Branching out naturally to be relevant with a new audience

Coca-Cola event Jamal Edwards confetti

Glacéau vitaminwater

Providing a real platform for creative talent

Pip & Nut

molson coors light ice cave rave sunglasses blue

Coors Light

Getting ‘Damme’ cool to genuinely refresh millennials

activision guitar hero live festival staff

Guitar Hero Live

Turning a festival activation up to 11