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Brand X: Econ 101

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Brand: The Economist
Agency: Weiss Stagliano Partners
Creative Director: Marty Weiss
Copywriter: Rick Condos

The nation that brought us Benny Hill and Scary Spice has also been bringing us The Economist -- the world's most prestigious newsweekly -- since 1843. But in an ADD-addled age, what's an ultra-erudite British media brand to do? Well, it can start by fronting some attitude. In its new image campaign (appearing in magazines, airports, and subway stations) with the tag line "The only thing dry is the ink," The Economist attacks its stuffy-image problem by taking on our political candidates. A shot of Al Gore is headlined spin a politician too far and he's apt to wind up where he started. A shot of Bush gets living proof that genetic traits can skip a generation. (An earlier ad poked fun at Hillary Clinton -- shown wearing a Yankees cap -- with the headline it ain't over until the first lady sings.) For The Economist, the U.S. market is paramount: Nearly half the magazine's circulation of 740,000 is based here. It's hard to imagine a U.S. publication making a big marketing push in the UK by implying that Tony Blair is a lightweight or that Queen Elizabeth is a stiff. But The Economist must think there's no quicker way to an American reader's heart than to embrace a fashionably casual cynicism about our public figures, even though the magazine itself still takes a decidedly smarter-than-thou approach to the news.


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