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The Economist

The Economist Raising Eyebrows and Subscriptions

Proximity London

For decades, The Economist promoted itself as the ticket to career success for white-collar warriors – but was often dismissed by those disinterested in reading what they considered the corporate elite handbook.

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  • Challenge

    The Economist and Proximity London saw that a younger audience was rejecting the publication – perceiving it as boring and impenetrable – or had never even considered it. To increase engagement and penetration within that demographic, they needed to show how The Economist was relevant to them – turning them into readers, and ultimately into subscribers.

  • Solution

    Driven by the insight “There is nothing more provocative than the truth,” Proximity London established three tasks: 

    • Provoke the intellectually curious
    • Demonstrate The Economist’s relevance
    • Give readers their own ‘Economist epiphany’

    They used recent editions for the most provocative insights, the freshest and most arresting views, which may have run counter to common wisdom – addressing topics far outside business and finance and, of course, showcased The Economist’s characteristic dry wit. An initial spike delivered a first pool of prospects for future retargeting, while initial learnings informed always-on activity. The combined power of content, creativity and context surprised people, changed minds and stimulated action. 

  • Results

    • The largely digital display campaign directly provoked 5.2 million new people into exploring The Economist content 
    • Paid subscriber base grew by 64,405 
    • Responsible for delivering £51.7 million in lifetime revenue and a revenue ROMI of over 25:1 from our year one spend of £2.03M.  
    • New subscribers were the precise target audience – younger, female skewed – showing how programmatic display can deliver powerful, business-changing brand effects