Red Wire-the Economist

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Red wires marks the beginning of The Economist talking to people who might not yet consider themselves to be Economist readers through its marketing and advertising. It was sparked by research undertaken by the magazine last year which discovered that, because of the rise in the number of people going on to university, there are now over 3 million people in the UK whose interest in world affairs, travel, news and politics suggests an unconscious affinity with what The Economist reports on every week. The Economist describes these people as the “intellectually curious”. This ad uses the image of a wire-jumper (Florent Blondeau) walking through a city on a series of red wires and the strapline “Let your mind wander” as a metaphor for the inherent pleasure in connecting different ideas, and how this is reflected in the wide-range news and analysis available in a copy of The Economist.

Advertising Agency: Abbot Mead Vickers BBDO, UK
Director: Tom Carty
Aired: July 2009

The Economist has just launched a new cinema ad campaign which it hopes will help attract a new generation of readers. The campaign is very different to the ‘white out of red’ posters it’s used for over 20 years and is intended to grab the attention of the “intellectually curious”, the estimated 3m+ people in the UK who, thanks to the expansion in university education, care about the range of big global issues that The Economist covers every week. The ad shows a wire-jumper (Florent Blondeau) walking through a city on a series of red wires and uses the strapline “Let your mind wander” as a metaphor for the pleasure we get from connecting different ideas, suggesting that you can get a similar experience from reading a copy of the magazine.

The Economist is launching a radical new brand strategy with its first cinema ad in eight years – a 70 second commercial featuring a high-wire walker. In a move aimed at boosting the Economist's circulation, the campaign is targeted at people who do not read the magazine but are "intellectually curious". The dramatic advert, "Red Wires", features wire-walker Florent Blondeau walking through a city on a series of high wires coloured red. Each wire represent different thoughts and ideas inspired by reading The Economist. A new Economist slogan, "Let your mind wander", is also being introduced with the high-wire campaign. The Economist said that the high-wire walker represents the "thrill that stimulated minds enjoy". Regular readers of the magazine loved the Economist's traditional poster adverts but they did not connect with non-readers, according to the Economist's UK publisher, Yvonne Ossman. "The brand left them cold," she said. The magazine has a history of maintaining its marketing during recessions and it is thought to have spend under £1m on the campaign in an effort to attract more readers. According to the Economist's research, there are more than 3 million people in the UK with "high levels of curiosity" about the world. But the magazine sells 186,995 copies each week here. The research focused on psychographics rather than demographics. "It was less about your job title, more about your mindset," Ossman said. "We could have stayed with the previous campaign for many years. We are doing well. I personally think that that's when you change. When you have to do something, that's a little bit knee-jerk," she added. Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, the Economist's long-standing ad agency, created the new campaign. "Red Wires" was directed by Tom Carty. Media planning and buying was handled by PHD. This ad uses the image of a wire-jumper (Florent Blondeau) walking through a city on a series of red wires and the strapline “Let your mind wander” as a metaphor for the inherent pleasure in connecting different ideas, and how this is reflected in the wide-range news and analysis available in a copy of The Economist Brilliant ad for The Economist magazine, featuring a tightrope walker that begins his ascent from the sidewalk,...
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