The Economist. Still going strong, even in these challenging economic times.

January 20, 2009

The iconic advertising campaign for The Economist was created at Abbot Mead Vickers (AMV) and is a brilliant example of inspired thinking. It shows how a cleverly conceived and fabulously executed campaign can win awards and win new readers (and advertisers) for the magazine.
The campaign benefits from the stellar thinking that was led by David Abbott, but he also knew how to delegate and get the best from all of his teams. The legendary Ron Brown was responsible for the choice of typeface (Bauer Classic) that complimented the logo typeface, but was different enough to make the reader know which part was the message and which part the messenger.
It’s difficult to stop eulogising about these posters. They have always been created as posers should be – as posters. The difficulty that many posters suffer from is that they were conceived as press ads. So they are carrying too much to really be effective as posters. You would know an Economist poster from 100 yards even if the logo was removed. And that has been the case for more than 20 years now.
Sure they’ve finally changed the art direction and changed the approach slightly. But they still maintain the intelligence and wit that they have become (rightly) famous for.
If you only create one thing this good in your career – rejoice for it is truly wonderful.
You can visit the AMV website here, and see the latest Economist ads and also other great work (for clients like Guinness, Alka-Seltzer and BT).
Below is a selection of my favourite Economist ads. These are the ones I could lay my hands on. There are many, many others that are equally well thought out but that I couldn’t find a copy of to scan and share with you.

The keyhole execution. No words, but it says so much.

The keyhole execution. No words, but it says so much.

Fly On The Wall. Again no words but the message is unmissable.

Fly On The Wall. Again no words but the message is unmissable.

Captains of industry won't get lost

Captains of industry won't get lost

A head-turning execution.

A head-turning execution.

More examples of clever, confident thinking

More examples of clever, confident thinking

Two other executions - Smarties should be sharp. Indeed.

Two other executions - Smarties should be sharp. Indeed.

Make the rules. And then break them for added impact.

Make the rules. And then break them for added impact.

A desk-top reminder, still bang on brief

A desk-top reminder, still bang on brief

If you really love these ads like I do, there’s a superb book about the history of the campaign called ‘Well-Written And Red’ by Alfredo Marcantonio [ISBN: 0-9537032-3-1]. It costs about £35 on amazon.co.uk, and is worth every single penny.

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One Response to “The Economist. Still going strong, even in these challenging economic times.”


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