Subway Seeks ‘Better Creative’

Frustrated by Euro RSCG efforts, client launches review

An “opportunity to do better creative work” and a desire to refocus on spokesdieter Jared Fogle led to Subway’s decision to put the creative portion of its $220 million account in review, the client said.

There is “a lot left” to Fogle’s story, according to Chris Carroll, marketing director of the Subway Franchisee Advertising Fund Trust, which oversees the Norwalk, Conn., sandwich chain’s advertising. Carroll said he has been frustrated with efforts by incumbent Euro RSCG MVBMS Partners in New York to increase Fogle’s presence in ads.

Agency president John Berg declined to comment on the Fogle factor, but said, “It is not unusual in a rapidly changing, competitive category like [quick-service restaurants], for a company to review its business practices. … Subway is at a key point, looking to continue its growth as it enters a new phase.” The agency will defend the business.

Subway has tried various ad strategies over the past three years, from a shadow puppet voiced by Gilbert Gottfried to a character named Jim expressing the “Eat fresh” positioning. Fogle—discovered in 2000 by former shop Hal Riney & Partners in Chicago—has been the element that resonates most with consumers, Carroll said.

Joanne Davis Consulting in New York will assist on the search. Media, at Grey Global Group’s MediaCom, is unaffected. Carroll said RFPs will be sent to 12-15 undisclosed shops by this week, and a cut to an undetermined number of finalists will be made in mid-June, with a decision in July. —WITH DAVID KAPLAN