Thursday, October 7, 2010
Or not surprisingly. Subway feels like a brand that thrives in spite of the apparent lack of any focus in its advertising. Which begs the age-old question: What matters more, creative or effective? I grew up next to one of the first Subway stores here in Connecticut. No ads. You just knew were to go for subs, and Subway’s footlong was the choice as a burger alternative. Now, they seem like Chipotle, a brand that can’t seem to agree on what its message should be.
I have a feeling you’ll see it with Sonic too. After parting ways with longtime shop Barkley, the also-ran to the Holy Trinity** had carved out a unique voice with their carversations and attack style ads. (Which explains the food porn they ran.) For its part, Chipotle had several well-known agencies give it a go.
Subway though hasn’t really done the hi-profile major shop shuffle though the way some have. They have tried the celeb angle though: Jon Lovitz added a little spark, then of course there was self-made celeb Jared, and now the Michael Strahan express.
All brands go through periods where they try out different campaigns, but it feels like the only voice slash strategy they're content with is their $5 push launched two years ago. (A move some chains have had to emulate.) But is price a safe bet for a long-term strategy? If the economy keeps going the way it is, probably.
Eat Fresh is a nice tag and owns healthier eating in a way the others can only dream about – McSalad – but I have no feelings about it one way or the other. The spot above from the UK felt like more of that same: generic in every sense.
Then there’s my favorite target: their website. Speaking of two years ago —a coincidence on the date, I swear — but since then there’s been no change from the time I made my last offer to now. (Bonus points though because they at least have a decent Facebook presence.***) A brand though with “27 U.S. Advertising Agencies as well as agencies representing Canada, Australia and Puerto Rico” should have a better site design. (Twitter and Facebook links in the footer, for real?) But hey, what do I know. Looks like its effective.
And so I come back to, does any of this matter? I can get a bigger meal at Subway without all the grease and fat of the others – for less, and it has nothing to do with ads.
*This post written immediately after wolfing down a BMT. No lies, friendo, I love Subway.
**McDonald’s, Burger King & Wendy’s.
***1.3 million fans. McDonald’s: 3.3 million, Taco Bell: 2.8 million, Wendy’s: 462,000+ and Burger King: 362,000+.
Posted 3:11 PM