Core disciplines: Brand Activation, Experiential marketing, Staffing

One of the Top 30 most viewed agencies for 2017

Discomfort Future by The Economist

Putting people out of thier comfort zones: A self-selecting strategy


Drive enough subscriptions to The Economist to provide direct positive ROI.


We accepted that The Economist is a dense and challenging read.  It was essential that we remained frank about this, and embraced it.

If we engaged potential subscribers with something interesting, but not everyone’s cup of tea, we could “pre-screen” the more reticent and close-minded reader, and tacitly flatter the more daring and intellectually curious, letting them know that they might the type of person who might enjoy The Economist.

This mini “personality test”, subtly played, had the potential to marry what the newspaper is really about with people who would benefit from it.  We called this matchmaking strategy “Discomfort Food”.

To then position The Economist as an advocate for change, we ensured campaigns embraced future trends that The Economist has covered in the newspaper and brought these bold, new concepts to life in our campaigns. We referred to this as “Future Forces”.

So we took the existing daring element from Discomfort Food and merged with “Future Forces”, calling it Discomfort Future.



The campaigns were brought to life within the most basic “honey-pot” structure you could imagine; a simple mobile trike

The strategic twist came through what and how we served the giveaways; 4 different flavours of ice cream/crepes, that on closer inspection were revealed to be made with a variety of edible and protein rich insects, or a coffee where consumers were eluded to think that the water used in their coffee had been passed through immediately from a portaloo, which was connected to the trike.

These concepts acted as a natural and compelling introduction to The Economist, which quite literally brought their content to life, and allowed us to position The Economist as an advocate for change, whilst also generating subscriptions.


  • 191% ROI

  • Over 25,000 subscriptions in the UK (over 2 years)

  • Because the insights are human not cultural, the activity has been successully activated in 11 countries worldwide


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