Category G01. Integrated Campaign led by Direct
Name Company Position
John Treacy Proximity London Executive Creative Director
Jason Cascarina Proximity London Deputy Executive Creative Director
Rob Morris Proximity London Art Director
Ben Sawyer Proximity London Copywriter
Tristan Sellan Proximity London Associate Creative Director
Francesco Perillo Proximity London Associate Creative Director
Gabriele Mockute Proximity London Animator
Mitch Bellach Proximity London Designer
Matthew Linnett Proximity London Planner
Matt Brocklesby Proximity London Business Partner
Prena Amin Proximity London Account Director
James Knight Proximity London Account Manager

The Campaign

Our biggest challenge was to create a sense of relevance for potential readers. Why bother reading election analysis if the result is a foregone conclusion? What’s more, a draining media frenzy meant we had to find a way of making our point without simply adding to the noise. So we made full use of The Economist’s well-known wit to shapeshift at the right moments and for the right channels, matching the rhythm of the election and borrowing the language of political discourse to make cutting observations, often in real time.

Creative Execution

We harnessed the power of context to reach potential readers wherever the conversation was happening. That meant making our message bespoke to any channel we popped up in. We appeared in Snapchat with vibrant animation to mock partisanship and mimicked ballot box papers in press ads. We even worked through the night to create reactive outdoor on departure boards at King’s Cross that displayed how destinations from the station had voted, mere hours before. So while the early commuters tried to work out what the results meant, we were already offering insight. Although that did mean that at 04:30, we were still working out what our messages would be! The intelligence of the campaign was arguably best reflected by our focused use of what is traditional awareness channels. Whether using outdoor, social, press or TV, the campaign nudged people to request a free copy or subscribe at every juncture.


The success of the campaign took many by surprise – even our competitors decided to charge The Economist more to use the advertising space in their publications and on their websites because of the success of our ads. But it was the number of new subscribers that really caught our attention. From a campaign that set out to offer everyone a sample of The Economist, 2,878 actually chose to subscribe instead – delivering a ROMI of £6.65:1. We also benefitted from learnings we gleaned experimenting with how traditional awareness channels could drive direct response. Coaxing direct subscriptions from press and outdoor whilst managing lower CPAs than ever in TV, despite a higher media spend. Meanwhile, our first foray into Snapchat achieved an incredible 81,000 clicks, introducing a new audience to the brand in a remarkably cost-effective manner with CPAs running at 33% less than our benchmark for digital channels.

For this year’s surprise General Election in the UK, we helped The Economist harness a pertinent moment in time. Through an array of channels we not only helped define the role of the title during a key geopolitical event but, crucially, drive direct response and thousands of new paying subscribers.

When Theresa May called a surprise General Election, the media started to forecast a foregone conclusion that gave people no space to think for themselves. People were actually being encouraged to switch off. However, The Economist battles against default thinking. So we went all out to make sure people made their own decisions, in the face of being told they didn’t need to. So as events unfolded, wherever they turned, The Economist was on hand to offer voters cutting perspective and a free copy of the newspaper to inform their vote. We’ve also found that people have an ‘Economist epiphany’, if we can just get them to sample the content. So we set out to offer everyone in Britain free access to The Economist. To jolt a numbed electorate and get them reading our election coverage, we reacted to developments in the real world in near real time.