Jared Fogle is a central figure in Subway's ongoing $220 million review, but he's no longer alone as a weight-loss archetype for the sandwich chain. Twins Herman and Sherman Smith tell a similar story in an estimated $15 million TV effort breaking July 13.
McCarthy Mambro Bertino in Boston was cut from the review but nevertheless won the Smith project in May. The result is three 30-second lighthearted testimonial spots featuring the Smith brothers, who came to the client's attention when they told their Subway diet story on Oprah.
In one spot, Herman and Sherman and their relatives are having fun at a family reunion barbeque. A voiceover says, "Herman and Sherman Smith lost 100 pounds each with the help of Subway low-fat sandwiches and exercise." The twins introduce themselves: "Hi, I'm Sherman, and this is my brother Herman." "I was 300 pounds." "And I was 290." Cousin Charlie pipes in, "Them boys was huge!"
The twins say they decided to eat nothing but Subway sandwiches for seven months. At the end of the spot, Charlie concludes, "Before they lost all that weight, I couldn't tell them apart. ... Now that they lost the weight, I still can't tell them apart."
A second spot opens with Herman and Sherman's uncle brandishing their pre-diet photos, saying, "Let me show you my nephews. ... As time went on, they got bigger and bigger." "Sherman and I were on our way to 500 pounds. ... It was a wakeup call. We needed to do something about this," says Herman. At the end of the spot, the uncle says the twins now "could be male go-go dancers!"
A third spot is in production and will break later this summer. The tagline remains, "Eat fresh."
"The [diet] strategy is one that Subway has used for the past few years and was a key component to the success they're having," said Joe McCarthy, CEO and partner at MMB. "We tried to be more authentic and real and make [the ads] a bit more human and honest and less goofy."
MMB, an independent, won the job thanks in part to a longtime friendship between the Milford, Conn., client's marketing director, Chris Carroll, and MMB co-creative director and co-founder Fred Bertino. Carroll was unavailable for comment.
"We love the spots. We think they fall in line with our brand [message]," said Ted Wirth, Subway's creative services manager. He declined to say whether MMB might be awarded future projects. Subway's media shop, Grey Global Group's MediaCom in New York, handled the buy. Media is not in review. The spots will run at least through the summer.
The Smith twins make their TV debut the same week Subway will hear final presentations from four of the nation's top shops, a review in which Carroll has said he wants to see new ideas on how to use Jared.
Interpublic Group's Deutsch in New York, Omnicom's Goodby, Silverstein & Partners in San Francisco, Publicis Groupe's Fallon in Minneapolis and independent Wieden + Kennedy in Portland, Ore., and New York are contending [Adweek Online, June 13]. A decision will be made the week of July 21.