Subway Launches Review for $300 Mil. Business

CHICAGO Subway today said it has placed the creative portion of its $300 million ad account into review.

The competition had been expected after the Milford, Conn., client parted with Publicis Groupe’s Fallon in May.

The company has enlisted New York consultant Joanne Davis Consulting to handle the search.

Media duties, currently handled by Grey Global Group’s MediaCom in New York, are not in review, according to a company representative.

“As the largest restaurant chain in the United States, Subway has a responsibility to our franchisees to drive traffic to the restaurant with the most compelling, persuasive marketing communications and advertising,” said Chris Carroll, marketing director for Subway Franchisee Advertising Fund Trust, in a statement.

A Subway representative could not provide a specific timetable for the review, though he said the company expected to have an agency on board in time to produce new advertising in early 2005.

Independent agency McCarthy Mambro Bertino, which has been handling the duties on an interim basis, has been invited into the review. The Boston shop recently created a new campaign for the company with the tagline, “Choose well.”

Subway spent slightly more than $300 million on advertising last year, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

Subway split with Fallon after eight months, following a review that included Omnicom’s Goodby, Silverstein & Partners in San Francisco, independent agency Wieden + Kennedy in Portland, Ore., and Interpublic Group’s Deutsch in New York.

Fallon’s first work for the client was poorly received. One campaign featured a man washing his car in a cheerleading outfit. He justified the strange behavior by saying, “It’s OK, I had Subway.” Follow-up ads returned to the chain’s longtime “Eat fresh” tagline. The shop’s final work for the client featured the chain’s famed pitchman Jared Fogle addressing child obesity.