Subway “Phelps”

It was the bong hit heard around the world. When a picture surfaced showing U.S. swimming sensation Michael Phelps smoking marijuana endorsers like Kellogg’s quickly dropped him. Subway, however, accepted Phelps’ apology and in his debut spot for the sandwich chain, the Olympian thanks the chain back. You can almost hear all the blunts lighting up in support as Sly & The Family Stone’s  “Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)” kicks in. The spot features a play-by-play comparison of the multiple-gold-medal winner’s day and that of Subway’s familiar pitchman Jared Fogle. One swims and the other feeds his fish, but they both end up at Subway, enjoying their favorite customized sandwiches. “You can always be yourself at Subway,” promises the voiceover. While it’s been months since talk of Phelps’ marijuana use ignited the tabloids, the smoke from that public relations flame-out still smolders. Instead of pretending the fiasco never happened, Subway smartly (and subtly) turns it into a nonjudgmental message of individuality — and it works.–Eleftheria Parpis