The campaign, devised and run by Sense, targets business and commuter areas, using the offer of free coffee as the hook to get people talking about The Economist and taking up a special subscription package.
Sense account manager Daniel Hennessey explains the concept behind the campaign: "As consumers request their coffee, our brand ambassadors explain that this isn’t just any coffee brand, it’s Kopi Luwak, derived from beans extracted from the faeces of civet cats – that’s cat poo to you and me.
"It’s the most expensive coffee in the world and our brand ambassadors give people a leaflet explaining how it’s made along with information about the subscription offer."
The first phase of the campaign took place in London between July 2014 and April 2015. In this time period, The Economist has seen a 298% return on investment.
Following its success, the campaign will run in Ireland and the Netherlands for the next 12 months.
Marina Haydn, senior vice president of circulation and retail marketing at The Economist, said: "It has been fantastic to see results continually improving through the campaign run-time, and effectively become a new channel that steadily delivers results in the realm of offline marketing.
"Sense has taken this campaign concept to the next level, building a solid success case study that is currently feeding into our future experiential marketing strategy. Within the UK, we plan to increase marketing investment and activity in the experiential area by about 50%. In parallel, we're taking the concept to other markets with The Netherlands and Ireland next on the map."
Hennessey added: "Our idea came from the idea of discomfort food, and taking customers out of their comfort zone. Brands don’t have to be all things to all people, and The Economist is a singular brand so it should embrace that. Therefore, we wanted to narrow the field of potential customers, rather than broaden it, as this would create a more efficient and memorable campaign.
"A key insight to the Economist is that ‘the Economist isn't easy, it's challenging’. There's a certain kind of person who likes to rise to that kind of challenge. If we can weedle them out, then they'll be easier to sell to."
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