The Economist launches massive ad campaignToday it was announced that the London-based current affairs/economics magazine The Economist is launching a far-reaching ad campaign aimed at broadening its readership. It's a unique title in a unique position with an equally unique readership. But an ad campaign could spoil that...

Earlier this month it was announced that The Economist had effectively dodged the unfortunate fate that has befallen nearly every news organisation in the the English-speaking world by posting both profits and circulation increases in fiscal year 2009

Revenue increased 17% to $510 million. The Economist’s worldwide circulation grew 6.4% to 1,390,780, according to the July-December 2008 Audit Bureau of Circulations report. The magazine’s circulation in India was up 37%."

What this means for its new circulation and readership figures could be telling. According to the publication's own research, the average yearly income for its readers is $175,000 and the average net household worth is just shy of $1.7 million.

The magazine has the affluent, mover-and-shaker, business-person market pretty well pinned. Because of that, its advertisers are paying a premium to reach that audience. That is why I was confused when I read in Brand Republic today about The Economist's plans to reach more people beyond its market.

The ad will also run in a one off spot during channel 4 news on 5 July. A more extensive TV strategy is still being finalised. Print ads will run in the autumn and be supported by an extensive online campaign."

Here's the ad they're running:

It reminds me a bit of what's happening at Newsweek in the U.S. Newsweek's circulation has dropped, and with it, so have its ad pages. So the powers that be have adopted a new strategy: to model Newsweek after The Economist by aiming for a smaller, more affluent readership.

Conversely, this move by The Economist looks to me like an attempt to be more like Newsweek. And the funny thing about that is Newsweek doesn't even want to be Newsweek.

Ben LaMothe

Published 3 July, 2009 by Ben LaMothe

Ben LaMothe is a web & social media strategist with Florida-based advertising and marketing consultancy Renaissance Creative. You can follow him on Twitter.

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Comments (3)

Mark Pavan

Mark Pavan, Chairman at Mapa Research

Nice one it does sound as if the pursuit of profit has ovehwhelmed rational thinking on protecting what you have. But what do you expect from their owners? They are quoted (Pearson) with more more more being demanded by everyone it is that that is to blame. How many niche brands have done that before? Many: including the FT at different times. Gone for greater numbers on the assumption that the incremental new customers will only be marginally less profitable than current ones. They never are. When the numbers don't appear The Economist will of course conduct research amongst the target audience which tells them that they just need to broaden ever so slightly the editorial position to be more middle ground and less right wing. So that will be the next great plan and lo and behold the core will be tampered with and the circulation will go into freefall. Sometimes big quoted companies should think like small private ones but then managers would need to stay long enough to see the company as an asset to be cherished rather than a cash cow to be plundered......... "end of rant"

about 9 years ago

Ben LaMothe

Ben LaMothe, Web & Social Media Strategist at Renaissance Creative

Hi Mark:

I agree. It would appear that the people running The Economist realise they've got a good thing going and want to capitalize on it. You can't blame them - it's what any good business would do when they have a really good quarter and no one else does. But, as you said, I fear this could come back to haunt them in a big way.


about 9 years ago



I'd love to comment and say.

Lame !-  Long Long ODD as all hell Commercial

oh,. did I miss the Name in small print at the very end,.so did everyone else.

sorry was bored and lost interest,.. anyways they must think most people know

NOW - what the Economist is about.

Econo- Missed it completely.!

almost 9 years ago

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