The debate in the ad community about the video launched on YouTube by an agency (who will now remain unnamed) on their pitch for Subway’s online business will continue for a while.

Which is fine- but the question to really answer, is if any ad agency can help Subway sell more sandwiches? And is advertising the answer?

The following is a cheeky review comparing Subway and its fast growing competitor Quizno’s. Neither has good advertising, but in this battle, it might not be advertising that’s needed:

Munch goes to Quizno’s and Subway

Point is, the Quizno’s-Subway question inspires both competition and passionate discourse, and Munch now feels obligated to interject. “Subway or Quizno’s?” is the “paper or plastic?” of the 21st century. At some point, everybody must answer. So cueing the drum roll at this precise time, Munch will now deliver the verdict.Quizno’s.

Yup, Quizno’s is better.

In fact, it isn’t even close.

Munch came by this decision after one week of careful scrutiny, during which Munch sought opinions from several confidants and promptly dismissed all who dared to contest Quizno’s superiority.

It’s the same reason that Toyota, Honda and Nissan are making money, while GM, Ford, Chrysler and VW are having problems.


In today’s world of information empowered consumers- if your product sucks, everyone will know. No matter how good your advertising is.

If you are smart, as VW has been in hiring Crispin Porter + Bogusky, you can distract audiences with entertainment, and making the brand water cooler discussion while you work like mad to fix your quality problems. The thing VW has going for it, unlike Subway or Quizno’s, is that at one time it had good advertising and a great reputation for quality. The brand was at one time a lifestyle brand. People who owned VW’s thought they were special.

About the only thing people can say about eating Subway is that:

  1. It was cheap.
  2. I think I’m eating healthy.

Not exactly a great foundation for an ad strategy.

Quizno’s has had lousy ads. Seriously lousy ads. But, they have a reputation for quality and own a position of “Toasted” in the sub market. Much better foundation to build from, but unfortunately their growth hasn’t caught up with their aspirations for a national ad budget yet, and they’ve continued to try to overreach with painful results.

Quizno’s could benefit from better advertising. Subway needs to reevaluate their value proposition and the offering. “Eat Fresh” as a tag line doesn’t fit with their plastic bagged products and their processed ingredients. By basing their positioning on a statement that most people wouldn’t agree fits, they are hurting themselves. A better strategy might be “Eat cheap”- which is based on an underlying truth.

While many agency types are offering opinons on the attempted “viral” pitch- the fact is not many are offering anything useful in the discussion. We hope that we’ve done our part to help elevate the conversation from talking about agency pitches- to how to solve Subway’s problems.

What would you suggest Subway do to improve sales?