The Economist’s “White Out of Red” campaign (1988 - today)
Based around the Economist’s masthead, the concept is the creation of the agency Abbot Mead Vickers. Voted into the D&AD Annual and winning the Poster Award’s Best Media Poster category, the first poster (‘Management Trainee’) was the start of a hugely successful and still ongoing campaign.
Rather than advertising content as most of the competition did, the strategy was to play on the cachet of reading The Economist – “if you were a reader, you were part of an exclusive club of successful people. The price of admission was the price of the magazine. The creative guidelines insisted that the tone of the advertising reflect the personality of the club – clever, urbane – with an undercurrent of wit to move the brand away from its somewhat stuffy image.” The Economist would be a polarizing brand — either you get it, or you don’t. The point of the campaign was not to sell copies of The Economist but to make people feel like they ought to say they read it.
Over twenty years on since the first poster, the message behind the advertisements has lost none of its punch, whilst the campaign won a plethora of awards and has become legendary. (via)