SENSE London - The Economist – Bugging For Change

Discomfort Futures - Growing a brand by persuading people out of their comfort zone

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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 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.

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, 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.

The Results

Over 100,000 global subscriptions, 100% against target

ROI: 171% with a customer lifetime value of £1.7M

 60% post promotional offer retention rate, 240% against target

About Sense:

We think people first – before brands – to create concepts that delight, provoke and inspire to get the results you require. Authentic experiential campaigns, immersive brand ideas and individual insights to showcase the best bits about what you do in the here and now. Because by taking action in the real world, brands can become useful, interesting, relevant and desired.Welcome to Sense. SENSE are a member of the MAAG who represent the independent agency community. To learn more type SENSE in the search bar or visit our website

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The Alliance is the UK’s trade body that represents entrepreneurial and independent marketing agencies. We are a growing community of those marketing agencies that are independent in culture and entrepreneurial in spirit resulting in the creation of some of the most transformative, innovative and inspirational communication campaigns for the world's biggest brands.