Economist, the premium global weekly magazine on politics, business and culture, is out with its first-ever campaign in India. The magazine, known for catering to leaders in various spheres, is priced at Rs 200 in India, and is available on newsstands every Friday.
Although the magazine's content is be global (the way it is in all the markets where it is present), Suprio Guha Thakurta, associate publisher, The Economist, India, is positive that the magazine is also locally relevant.
In its trademark global style, The Economist campaign has been launched in India with a high-voltage outdoor presence bearing its signature colours, red and white. The campaign, made by O&M in India, will be launched initially in Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore, but the plan is to take it to the top eight cities eventually.
"The Economist usually has wit and irreverence underlining its advertising," says Sumanto Chattopadhyay, executive creative director, O&M South Asia. "Whereas a lot of brands believe in the 'A for Apple' kind of advertising, The Economist appeals to the reader who likes to make connections beyond the obvious."
The campaign, therefore, will play around with alphabets, and leave the final interpretation to the reader. For instance, the letter 'A' and the word 'Addiction' will be inscribed beside the image of a credit card (implying that A stands for addiction and credit cards perfectly symbolise the word). In another creative, T stands for Tourism, and the image shows a rocket reaching the moon. Yet another ad shows D for Democracy, and has the image of a gun firing a bullet (asking the question whether we are in a bullet democracy or a ballot one). Towards the end of these ads, a line goes, 'Interpret the world. The Economist.'
'Interpret the World' as a brand thought was arrived at keeping in mind the international lineage of the publication and its advertising. According to Chattopadhyay, it's all about making a connection between the facts presented in the magazine, and interpreting them in one's own way. While globally, the campaigns have been largely copy led, the Indian campaign will see a generous use of visuals as well.
Thakurta is clear that the immediate task before the publication is to raise awareness as well as to make it relevant to Indians. "The Economist's audience set is not an easy one to define," he says. Young business leaders and intellectuals would probably come close. The biggest problem is of relevance, says Thakurta, as people in India seem to have a high opinion of the magazine, but don't see why they should read it. "After all, it is a heavy magazine and makes for a hard, two-hour read," shrugs Thakurta, adding, "but it gives you all the information you need."
Apart from outdoor, the campaign will place ads in business publications and the online media.
For the record, The Economist's first ever campaign was launched close to 18 years ago, and Alfredo Marcantonio was the brain behind it. The campaign laid the foundation for the thought that if one read The Economist, one would climb up in life. That is to say, if one weren't up there already. The bold red background with the copy written in white became a movement of sorts, and internationally, the publication's various campaigns in different markets have won a number of awards. It remains to be seen whether O&M India's efforts will add to that list.