Atmosphere Proximity Wins The Economist

Title seeks new digitally-driven marketing

In a shift to a more digitally-driven marketing strategy in North America, The Economist has tapped Atmosphere Proximity, N.Y., to lead brand communications and marketing after a review.

Other agency contenders could not be immediately identified and the client declined to reveal them. Spending in 2011 was not available from Nielsen.

The shift to the BBDO digital network keeps the marketing communications within the agency family. BBDO had been handling traditional advertising for the title in the states and London’s AMV BBDO continues to work on the account in the U.K. and continental Europe. The agency’s network strategic consultancy affiliate, Batten & Co., also advises The Economist. Omnicom sister company PHD has been the media lead and last spring added acquisition and subscription marketing duties.

Traditional advertising will be driven by Atmosphere Proximity’s digital strategy although it has not been decided yet which agency will execute against it, said Danya DeSimone, director of brand communications in the Americas for The Economist. Initial Atmosphere work is expected in the first quarter.

DeSimone said The Economist completed a large research project earlier this year, which led to the shift. She said that while print is still “incredibly important” to the brand, the move reflects how “customers are using the digital channel for news information and ideas.”

In April, The Economist said it had 48,000 digital subscriptions, which is about 6 percent of its total circulation and a high ratio for a magazine. In September, it set a digital rate base of 50,000, claiming to be the first to do so in the magazine world and delivering something many print magazine buyers have been seeking from titles. Earlier in the year, The Economist was one of the first to comply with a voluntary product called the Consolidated Media Report, from the Audit Bureau of Circulations, which presents a publication’s total brand footprint across print and digital platforms.