The Economist

I think I’ve mentioned working on The Economist campaign before, but I now have a good reason to bring you a tepid rehash of that post.

The lovely people at Sonic Editions are offering limited edition screen-prints of ten classic Economist posters.

I think they’d go great in your office or downstairs lav. The very best are beautifully written pieces of advice for all areas of your life, so why not give them a good ponder while you’re curling one out or throwing up after a night on the Bucky?

So if you missed the original post, here are a few interesting (if you’re into that kind of thing) facts about working on The Economist’s Red and White poster campaign:

1. People would often do the same ads. The one with Brains out of Thunderbirds was put forward year after year by different teams until there was a chance to get it out at the same time as the movie release, giving it extra topicality. Teams were very aware of the possibility of this, so they’d ‘reserve’ a good poster by sticking it up in their office so people knew it was ‘theirs’ and should not be done by another team in the following round.

2. The point of the campaign was not to sell copies of The Economist. Instead it was to make people feel like they ought to say they read it, so that when the readership research was conducted (‘Do you, Mr. clever rich person, read The Economist?’) people would say yes and The Economist would charge more for its advertising. I’m sure it also sold a few more copies, but that wasn’t the campaign’s raison d’être.

3. The whole department worked on it. As Peter Souter once told me, it was our ‘treat’. He was right. It was fun to work on, and a very likely award-winner. Thank you, David Abbott.

4. I did about twenty of them and they all came about through different methods. Some were the result of three solid days poring over the dictionary or thesaurus; for others I happened to be in the room when my art director came up with them; some gestated for years; others popped into my head fully-formed. I remember asking Malcolm Duffy how he came up with his. He said that there were lots of ways, then told me that one day he was reading the thesaurus when David Abbott passed his office. ‘You won’t find any Economist ads in there,’ said David. Later that day Malcolm came up with ‘Attracts Magnates’. So you never know.

5. My favourite is one that never won any awards that I’m aware of: ‘The loneliest place in the world is the edge of a conversation’.