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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.

REAL WORLD THINKING

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.

THE EXECUTION

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.

Results
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
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the economist waste food smoothies future forces sense
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the economist insect ice cream future forces sense
the economist fast forward food tacos future forces sense
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the economist insect crepes future forces sense
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