I went over my friend Jim's house today for his child's birthday party and thankfully he put the Giants-Lions football game on. He doesn't have a DVR so we had to watch the game "live" which really put me at a disadvantage because I can't remember the last time I watched TV live with commercials. I couldn't go to the bathroom and I wasn't sure when I should get my soda filled up (being a little funny). So basically, I sat through commercials and got a good look at what I've been missing lately which of course was a bunch of garbage.
What did get me a little confused and not because they were poorly designed were the Subway commercials. The ads themselves look like one of my least favorite creatives to review in a meeting with an agency. The classic "Beautiful ad execution that is off strategy" version. Of course I don't know what Subway's strategy is but it looked to me like they were drifting away from their "eat fresh/eat healthy" strategy with their new ads.
Everyone knows about Subway's Jared Fogel, their tie in with the American Heart Association, and if you've ever eaten in one, their dedication to helping people make healthier fast food selections. They do have a campaign on their website regarding New Fresh and Fit which includes a diet coke, healthier sandwich and Dannon yogurt. What surprised me today was Subway's The Family Guy ad that featured a "less than" healthy sub called "The Subway Feast" composed of pepperoni, ham, roast beef, salami, and cheese piled high on bread. Definitely a very "un-Jared-like" sandwich which surprised me (see the ad I uploaded). They do say at the end "take that Jared".
I'm a little surprised that they are trying to deviate from their healthy alternative platform. Sure it seems like a line extension of their brand, but lets face it, their sandwiches aren't very good if you are going the fatty, unhealthy route. They were always on the thin side when it came to the meats and to really make it filling you had to load it up with veggies, black olives, and etc. Throw on top of that a diet coke and baked chips and you had a decent healthy lunch for a good price. The meats themselves never looked up to or tasted as well as say a Boar's Head but like I wrote you were ok with that because it was better than going to get some greasy burger joint.
I don't have an ax to grind with them and I really hope they do well. I just find it interesting that they are trying to move away from their healthy alternative to compete in the fatty fast food world. Sometimes trying to appease investors by expanding outside your core strengths looks great on paper (well if we just capture 5% of blah blah we'll make more money) but often dilutes the overall brand message. It is tough to try and reverse a good position in the market with a brand new message that deviates from the successful Jared healthy sandwich brand position.
P.S. Just saw the Subway Big Philly Cheese steak which again is definitely not Jared friendly. Clearly Subway is embarking on a less than healthy path for the brand going forward.