Sandwich Chain Gives Pitchman a Curtain Call

CHICAGO Subway brings back pitchman Jared Fogle as an advocate against childhood obesity in a new $20 million television advertising campaign.

The effort, from Publicis Groupe’s Fallon in Minneapolis, tells the stories of three children who opted to improve their lives by increasing their physical activity and eating a balanced diet. Showing no images of food or eating, the spots show the children playing, running and swimming, while a voiceover tells about their decisions. The spots close with Jared and the children holding up pants they wore when they were overweight. The spots break later this month.

“We have received thousands of letters, e-mails and photos from people who have lost weight by incorporating Subway sandwiches into their low-fat diets,” said Jim Hansen, chairman of the Subway Franchisee Advertising Fund Trust, in a statement. “Surprisingly, many of these letters told about children who decided to make healthier choices in their diet and in their lifestyle. We were moved and inspired to build a public awareness television campaign around these stories.”

The campaign is part of a new initiative for the company called “FRESH Steps.” The program, introduced today, is intended to help people “Feel Responsible, Energized, Satisfied and Happy” in their menus and lifestyle. As part of the initiative, the Milford, Conn.-based chain has signed on as a sponsor for the American Heart Association’s Jump Rope for Heart program.

The campaign is Fallon’s last work for Subway. The agency and company parted ways on Subway’s $220 million account in May after less than a year together. The chain broke a campaign from interim agency, independent McCarthy Mambro Bertino of Boston, under the tagline, “Choose well.”