The Economist's New Campaign Dishes Out Real -- and Metaphorical -- Hot Potatoes
International news weekly The Economist is known for its thought-provoking campaigns. Past efforts out of its U.S. agency BBDO New York included pie charts on pizza boxes to get Philadelphia college students interested in the magazine, or fitness machine-themed graphics illustrating the difficulty of hot button news issues. Now, BBDO is pushing out a new campaign with the help of a food truck and piping hot potatoes.
The truck is visiting locations in Boston and Philadelphia to pass out free steaming spuds, a reference to the "hot potato" controversies covered by the magazine. To make sure passers-by get the joke, the baked taters come with labels citing issues like same-sex marriage, gun control or North Korea. Economist reps are on hand at the giveaways to discuss the topics with the food truck patrons.
The campaign also features outdoor posters that turn the pages of the Economist into binoculars, a Rubik's Cube, a globe and a pinata, while bar coasters that put a twist on familiar drinking slogans offer brain-stimulating suggestions like "Don't think alone" and "Be the designated thinker."
"We wanted to communicate the notion that reading The Economist can provide you with a world view," said BBDO Senior Creative Director Jean Robaire. "Using visual concepts allowed us to do that quickly and with great impact."
"Our challenge was to raise awareness by focusing on what sets The Economist apart from other publications -- its unique global insight and opinion," said Kara Goodrich, senior VP-senior creative director at BBDO. "With revenue from print advertising on the decline, we wanted to ramp up our subscriptions. We've had success in the past with highly targeted efforts that combine the medium and the message. The new advertising does just that."
See more images from the campaign below.