The Economist and the Joy of Reading: elevating the proposition

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A video that begins with a recital of A-B-C-D in a kids voice – not exactly the kind of imagery you would associate The Economist with. The magazine is associated with great content of the cerebral kind, appealing to a certain mindset. A mindset that can best be described as curious. Andrew Rashbass, CEO of The Economist Group referred to a ‘mass intelligent’ audience in his presentation, ‘Leanback 2.0‘ – the impact that e-readers and tablets have had on reader behaviour.


Given this kind of core target audience, what’s in it for The Economist to promote the ‘Joy of Reading’? There was a minor discussion on Twitter too about this.


As @eastbengal, the MD of The Economist mentioned in the same discussion, the attempt is to move ‘above magazines to a higher position’. In my view, activities like these establish a leadership stance and imbue the brand with a certain authority. In a world where print magazines are finding it difficult to survive, The Economist stands out as a success in terms of circulation growth – driven purely by its content. Even in digital sales, it has been a success story. Ask any Economist reader and they would attribute their addiction to the magazine to great content. So it is a natural fit to own a higher order benefit of ‘great reading’.

The Economist has created campaign microsites in the past too – the Thinking Space one comes to mind. The beautifully done Joy of Reading microsite is in keeping with the tone of the campaign. It was heartening to see so many entries with stories many of us can relate to. Whether it is Hardy Boys, a kids primer, Tintin or Asterix that you first enjoyed reading there is nostalgia associated with books. The campaign taps into that feeling well. And if great reading is associated with the brand, The Economist is home & dry.

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