2 Finalists Withdraw, 4 Remain In Subway’s Texas Co-op Review

By Glen Fest

DALLAS–The field of contenders for a statewide Texas co-op of Subway Sandwiches and Salads franchises has been narrowed to four, with a decision due this week.

Mark Holubec, a North Texas development agent for Subway, said presentations were given last week by four of the six original finalists, after two shops pulled out of the review.

Awaiting word on the $5 million account are Anderson Advertising of San Antonio and Berry-Brown, PGC Advertising and Hadeler Sullivan Ewing, all in Dallas. Holubec said he expects the eight regional Subway ad representatives overseeing the review to make a choice by Tuesday.

The winner will head up branding and media chores for more than 600 Subway franchises in Dallas/ Fort Worth, Houston, Austin, San Antonio, the Rio Grande Valley, Corpus Christi, Tyler/Longview and Texarkana. Most of the billings come from the top four markets.

Deciding against pitching were Townsend & O’Leary of Laguna Hills, Calif., and Fogarty, Klein & Partners in Houston. Fogarty cited a conflict with Nashville, Tenn.-based Captain D’s, which hired the shop in April as the Subway review was picking up speed.

The upcoming decision apparently quells any notion that the account would revert back to smaller, local market assignments, as hinted previously by some franchise operators.

The account was bundled in the past year from eight separate markets under Houston’s The Hively Agency, which won acclaim from store owners for its creative approach to selling Subway sandwiches as a low-fat alternative to fast foods.

The cohesive message built across Texas by Hively, however, could not withstand the mounting problems the undercapitalized shop had in staying current with the media bills for spot buys in many local markets.

A board of Texas Subway representatives abruptly called for a review in March, followed shortly by Hively’s bankruptcy declaration listing about $1.9 million in total debt.

Agency president Charles Hively has said he plans to return the shop to the ad scene under a new name.

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