Take that Jared! Subway tries to have its cake and eat it too. ~ Brand Mix

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Take that Jared! Subway tries to have its cake and eat it too.

Someone's "borrowed" my copy of Made to Stick so I'm going a little bit on memory here. But one of the stories in the book is that only by the persistence and tenacity of a few people and a good dose of luck did Subway come to make the hugely successful campaign featuring Jared Fogle.

Many people in the company didn't see the significance or potential of the fact that Jared had lost weight by eating Subway sandwiches. Still, they finally embraced the idea and enjoyed a run of success driven by the publicity around Jared, his role as a spokesman and, most importantly, by the fact that Subway now really stood for something different in the world of fast food.

It now seems like it was more luck than judgement because the company has launched a new campaign featuring Peter Griffin "The Family Guy." By appearance and by message, he's the antinoise for Jared, seemingly designed to completely cancel out Subway's relatively new differentiated positioning.

One of the toughest things for marketers to do is to embrace the focus and sacrifice that brand positioning demands. I can imagine the thought process and rationalizations that went on: "Consumers are telling us that Quizno's sandwiches taste better," "We need to talk to our heavy (literally) users as well," "This is a different consumer segment so it's a growth opportunity," "Fox is going to give us a deal on the media and a great tie-in."

But this is one of those times where more is less and trying to go in both directions means going nowhere at all. Bottom line - they've got to pick one of them. It's Peter or Jared. Not both.

5 comments:

freshpeel said...

This is a no brainer. Like Made to Stick so elegantly points out, what they had in Jared sticks! It may not have been the marketing mix that Subway owners were used to, but it worked!

If you can't see what you had, then imagine this scenario: Jared has kids....they are a little overweight....they go on the Subway diet....Pure Gold!

Where will Peter be? re-runs? Maybe.

Anonymous said...

I work as a technition in the film industry. Once on commercial shoot I asked an agency person about what other clients they served. When Subway was mentioned I commented that Jared could not act and I was surprised he had been on the air so long. The answer was they could not get rid of him. Every time they run a Jared commercial in an area, sales go up.

I asked about the recent (at the time) Jon Lovitz spots and is he replacing Jared. It was pointed out that Jon is for the rest of Subway's food (pizza/cheese/meat/etc.) Perhaps the Family Guy has replaced Jon for that segment.

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