A ‘Car Salesman’ Is Skeptical in BBDO New York’s Latest for Subway

By Erik Oster 

Back in December, BBDO New York launched its first campaign for Subway, after winning creative duties last summer for the (only) nominally “healthier” fast food chain following the conclusion of a review which saw the agency beat out finalists The Martin Agency, McCann Erickson and incumbent MMB. 

The launch spot for that campaign took the brand about as far away from former spokesman Jared Fogle as possible. Now, some five months and change later, the agency’s latest offering seems equally distant from the “Founders” effort. While that spot took Subway back to its roots, even tweaking the “Eat Fresh” tagline to “Founded on Fresh,” the 30-second “Car Salesman” seems confused with where to take the brand next.

The spot opens with a used car salesman telling his co-worker, to try his Subway sandwich, which, he claims is “better for you and delicious.” His coworker is skeptical, saying “it can’t be both,” and pointing out “We’re used car saleman of course I don’t believe you” before his trying to sweeten the deal.”

Beyond the failed attempts at humor, “Car Salesman” fails to provide adequate positioning for the brand beyond another forgettable attempt to convince viewers it’s healthy-ish. While “Founders” hinted at a new direction for Subway, the new effort flounders for a lack of direction. The final ten seconds of the ad are devoted to the chain’s new “premium chicken” raised without antibiotics. Perhaps a response to fast casual efforts like Chipotle, who tout the sourcing and quality of their products with pride, it comes across as wholly unconvincing. Pointing out the change may also lead viewers to question the chain’s prior chicken sourcing decisions, which in turn may have them wonder which ingredients are still not up to par. The spot ends with the tagline, “Fresh is what we do,” the latest take on a fresh-related tagline for the brand.