Its fire-engine-red logo peeks out of fashionable handbags and from the back pockets of designer jeans. Bankers read it in first-class seats. Hipsters read it on the subway on their way to work.
The newsweekly, a bible of global affairs for those who wear aspirations of worldliness on their sleeves, did not become a status symbol overnight. It took 25 years of clever advertising that tugs at the insecurities and ambitions of the status-seeking reader to help the magazine get there.
A standout among its less successful peers in the shrinking world of weekly news magazines, the true genius of The Economist, in fact, may have as much to do with its marketing as with its authoritative and often sardonic tone on exotic subjects, like a constitutional referendum in Kenya and the history of the vice presidency in Brazil.
John Micklethwait, the editor, said the magazine’s long-term success and relevance are only getting stronger in a world that is becoming increasingly global. “It’s much easier to sell a magazine that’s as global as what we do in an era when if you live in Detroit, your life can get changed by something that happens in Delhi,” he said.
As for The Economist’s hip factor, Mr. Micklethwait said it had nothing to do with how the magazine was edited. “Once you start trying to segment and work out what people might want to see, I think that would be a journey to some type of psychological hell.”
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