325 Bic Drive
Milford, Connecticut 06460
Telephone: (203) 877-4281
Fax: (203) 876-6674
Web site: www.subway.com
In the late 1990s, despite being the leader in the submarine sandwich fast-food niche with an estimated 27 percent market share, Subway sandwich shops' sales were flat and showed no signs of improving. That changed, however, when one of the chain's loyal customers, an overweight Indiana University senior named Jared Fogle, took the chain's promise of serving healthy, low-fat sandwiches to heart and went on a diet of Subway sandwiches. The "Subway Diet" was a success—Fogle lost 245 pounds eating the chain's sandwiches twice a day—and Subway had a new spokesman to attract diet-conscious consumers to its restaurants.
On the advice of its advertising agency, Hal Riney & Partners, Subway hired Fogle to pitch its low-fat menu options. Using Fogle's weight-loss success story as its theme, Subway launched a $75 million advertising campaign in 2000. The first television commercial featuring him was a 30-second spot that opened by showing the pre-diet, 425-pound Fogle, followed by the trimmed-down Fogle ordering a Subway sandwich and eating it while seated on a park bench. An announcer stated, "We're not saying this diet is right for you. You should talk to your doctor first. But it's food for thought."
The campaign resonated with people looking for healthy, high-quality, low-fat alternatives to the typical fast-food choices of greasy burgers and fries. The company was careful to avoid responsibility for promoting a diet plan, however. A Subway spokeswoman told the Cincinnati Post, "We're pleased that our low-fat sandwiches could fit into [Jared's] meal plan, but it's not a diet that we endorse by any means." Commenting on the success of the "Jared" campaign, Subway said that, following Fogle's 2000 appearance in a television advertising spot for the chain, his weight-loss success story had captured the attention and imagination of millions consumers and television viewers. Fogle subsequently starred in eight additional commercials for Subway and was the featured speaker at hundreds of public appearances.
In 1964 people craving a submarine sandwich either made it at home or went to a local sandwich shop or Italian restaurant. That changed in 1965, when recent high school graduate Fred DeLuca, worried about finding money to pay his college tuition, talked with his family's friend, Peter Buck. Rather than offering to pay DeLuca's tuition, Buck had a different suggestion: he would loan the money for Fred to open a sub sandwich shop. Ten years later there were 16 Subway shops in business and one goal on DeLuca's mind: expansion. By 2004 the chain had grown to more than 21,000 stores in 75 countries. Commenting on the growth during an
interview with Advertising Age, Subway's director of development, Don Fertman, said, "Goal-setting has always been important. Besides being No. 1 in every market we serve worldwide, our main goal was to look at what the possibilities can [lead to]."
Beginning as early as 1989 Subway was using its menu of sandwiches made with fresh-baked bread, fresh ingredients, and low-fat meats such as turkey-based cold cuts, to promote itself as the restaurant choice for people wanting to eat healthy. In 1992 Subway added veggie and cheese and roast chicken breast sandwiches to its menu selection, further strengthening its image as the low-fat fast-food chain. Subway promoted itself through various marketing campaigns as the healthy alternative to greasy...