The Economist Trades In Henry Kissinger For Google’s Eric Schmidt

How interesting are you? As in, if you’re stuck in a room with someone for an hour, are you able to carry on an informative and entertaining discussion or is it just 60 minutes of awkward smiling? The reality is probably somewhere in the middle, but there’s always a whiff of paranoia it might be more of the latter. And that’s where The Economist comes in.

In its new ad by agency eyeball, we see a man getting on the elevator, waiting to exhale after a stressful meeting, when in walks Google executive chairman–and Economist board member–Eric Schmidt. You can practically hear the poor guy’s flop sweats starting. But if he had read The Economist, he’d be able to wax academic on things like the Japanese prime minister’s economic plan or tax reform in India. Or at least the ability to move beyond mind-numbing small talk.

The ad’s a remake of a 1996 spot with the same premise, except, it was on an airplane with former U.S. secretary of state Henry Kissinger. Chances are he wouldn’t want to talk about this, but perhaps The Economist could help.

It’s a campaign and idea that could live for a long time, limited only by the number of potentially awkward social situations they can think of and celebrated minds they can recruit. Maybe next time it’ll be Joe Biden on the AmTrak, or Kanye at the dentist’s office.JB