Subway wins by losing
Subway also bought spots for two different commercials during the Super Bowl, and its highest-scoring ad was one celebrating the start of its campaign starring spokesman Jared Fogle 15 years ago.
Watch Subway's ad
Using its professional-athlete spokespeople — including basketball star Blake Griffin, football standouts Justin Tuck and Robert Griffin III and baseball player Ryan Howard — Subway told the story of how Fogle, “fighting for his life” as an overweight college student, lost more than 200 pounds and kept the weight off by eating Subway sandwiches.
The “15 Years in the Making” ad garnered an Ace Score of 562, according to Ace Metrix. Another 30-second commercial, “FebruANY,” featured the Fogle and the same athlete spokespeople trying and failing to name the chain’s “FebruANY” promotion, in which most foot-long subs are $5. That spot achieved an Ace Score of 515.
DigitalCoCo’s Barron said Subway’s anniversary ad stood out from the crowd because it was not going for laughs like Taco Bell’s “Viva Young” spot or most commercials from other advertisers.
“Subway wasn’t really going after that shtick of funny ads, but they stayed consistent with their brand message,” Barron said. “It was about their healthy eating and their connection to sports through their partners.”
The combination of Fogle’s authenticity and the star power of Subway’s spokespeople likely carried the day, even without the over-the-top humor people often associate with Super Bowl ads, he added.
“With Subway, I was a bit surprised that they held on against bigger brands as well as they did,” Barron said. “I think that alludes to the fact that people want to see Subway’s big brand advocates. They probably hit the mark in reaching consumers with what they’ve always been about.”