Fallon Takes Home Subway After All-Star Shootout


Four of the most well- respected shops in the business trooped to Times Square last week for final pitches in the $220 million Subway review. In the end, the contest came down to the last two to present: Omnicom Group’s Goodby, Silverstein & Partners and Publicis Groupe’s Fallon, sources said.

Independent Wieden + Kennedy in Portland, Ore., was the first to pitch last Monday at the Westin New York. Interpublic Group’s Deutsch in New York came next. On Tuesday, it was Fallon in Minneapolis first, followed by Goodby in San Francisco.

The client wasted no time with its decision, declaring Fallon the winner barely 24 hours after the last presentation. And Subway had good reason to be speedy: Fallon did not present spec creative in the pitch and must now produce concepts in time for the franchisees’ national conference in San Antonio on Aug. 8.

On the other side of the table were the 12 franchisees that make up the Subway Franchisee Advertising Fund Trust, SFAFT president Cindy Eadie, marketing director Chris Carroll and other staffers, sources said. Agencies were limited to two hours for presentations, and SFAFT chairman Deilli Husen had a gavel ready for any shop that went over the allotted time.

Sources said Goodby and Fallon both addressed consumers’ preference for Subway’s products over those of its competitors.

The agencies were asked to devise a campaign that could encompass several different “windows” for the client, such as health, food-customization and regional markets, which could include kids and combo meals, said sources. All four pitched ideas to advance the sandwich chain’s ongoing freshness and taste positioning and use of Jared Fogle, sources said.

Carroll would not discuss specifics but said, “The stuff [Fallon] showed us was the kind of advertising they’ve demonstrated they have the ability to execute. It’s one thing to have the idea; it’s another to execute it.”

Sources said Carroll, who could make a recommendation but did not have a vote, had favored Goodby, but Fallon won over the franchisees. Deutsch was a distant third, and Wieden stumbled and was not close to contention, sources said.

Carroll declined to discuss any aspect of the board’s vote, his recommendation or whether the board was split. “I don’t make the final decision,” he said. “The board and I came to the same conclusion.”

Subway—which had sales of $5.2 billion in 2002, up 16 percent from 2001, according to Technomic Information Services—recently surpassed McDonald’s as the fast-food chain with the most stores in the country. But neither Fallon nor Subway executives believe it has reached its peak.

“If we can make Subway’s business more meaningful to more people, they’ll come more often,” said Fallon chief marketing officer Mark Goldstein.