Subway Shifts the Focus to Its Veggie Selection

Subway’s shifting the focus of its ads, trying to play up its veggie selection and push sales of its meatless offerings.

This comes on top of an ongoing promotion that’s emphasizing the freshness of the company’s bread, which makes sense after the dust-up earlier in the year about the bread containing a chemical that’s also found in yoga mats and shoe rubber. Clearly, Subway’s on a roll (or at least a 12-inch loaf.)

So what’s up with the shift to bread and veggies instead of the company’s meat offerings? Well, according to Subway CMO Tony Pace, “In a very crowded and competitive marketplace, you need to do everything you can to stand out.” In this case, the company looks like it’s trying to stand out by showing off everything that its competitors aren’t.

That makes sense, I suppose. When you look at just about any restaurant’s ads, chances are there’s some sort of meat front-and-center. Sub shops tend to focus on meaty offerings like meatball subs, Philly cheesesteaks, and club sandwiches piled high with ham and turkey. Burger joints show off burgers and chicken, sit-down places show you their latest seasonal meaty entrees, and even burrito shops show off their steak and chicken offerings with featured salsas. Meat is king when it comes to the food industry.

Subway’s not necessarily trying to take that crown away, either. Even though they’re pushing fresh bread and nice fresh veggies, that’s not stopping the company from continuing its summer promotion featuring pulled-pork barbecue and barbecued steak piled high on its sandwiches. In fact, if you take a look at the current featured products on Subway’s website, there are only two items that don’t have meat… and both of those are flatbreads. One of them doesn’t even have any vegetables on it.

Part of what Subway’s really doing is probably trying to restore its reputation as a healthy dining option after people got all worked up over the conditioners in its bread. One campaign shows that Subway’s using fresh-baked bread, the next shows off how happy families are with the veggies the sub shop offers, and if you look at the website there’s a nice little quote from CNN about how Subway has showed the “most dramatic improvements” in reducing sodium in its offerings.

Is this a bad thing? Not really, no. Even if the push to focus on veggies and fresh bread seems a little reactionary, it’s still good business. Subway enjoyed years of popularity as the “healthy” choice for food on the run, thanks in large part to the ads that told about Jared Fogel’s weight loss. When the Subway Diet fell out of favor with the pop-culture consciousness, the sub chain started fading into the same “it’s always there” obscurity that a lot of well-established fast-food places share.

Like Pace said, Subway needs to do everything that it can to stand out. Does that mean grasping at the iron ring of “healthy” eating again? Sure, why not? Other competitors may try it from time to time, but Subway’s better positioned to get people believing it. At least until Subway’s veggies become old hat or someone finds tire rubber in its lettuce.

Howard Davidson Arlington MA

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Instagram Ads Make it More Like Facebook

As you probably have heard, Facebook is now moving advertising to Instagram.

The main source of revenue for Facebook has always been its ads, which eerily know what hobbies and interests you have thanks to all of the personal data you have given them throughout the years.

After the recent blackout that probably cost Facebook $20,000 a minute, it’s probably a smart idea that they are looking at another source of revenue. After being acquired by Facebook two years ago, those same ads will now be popping up on Instagram.

With over 200 million users “it’s very easy for Facebook to sneeze and create a $100-million-per-quarter-revenue business with the scale of Instagram and their salesforce,” said Corey Weiner, HyprMX CEO. If only everyone’s allergies could make them that much money.

While Facebook is wiping money from its nose, over 11 million young people have left Facebook since 2011 and it’s probably a good idea for Zuckerberg to ask why. Facing a similar fate to MySpace, Facebook is looking at a slump in users due to multiple reasons including a broad overreach in collecting data from users and focusing more on advertising instead of their users.

With Instagram serving as the “next big thing” in social media, how long will its popularity last when advertisements start flooding the homepage instead of some dudette’s photos from spring break?

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Jimmy Kimmel Helps Old Navy Sell Flip-Flops

Old Navy has Jimmy Kimmel selling a new collection of summer flip-flops. He’s getting help from 36 vending machines and a hashtag.

The late-night host and his team of writers created a skit during “Jimmy Kimmel Live” scored big time during the airing and on YouTube for Old Navy’s “Tweet For Your Feet” campaign.

Basically Old Navy was giving away super cheap flip flops to the first 9,000 tweeters to participate in their en masse Twitter firestorm. For all those in the lucky 9,000, one dollar flip flops could be retrieved from a glorified vending machine by using the hashtag #flipflophooray. And if one thing has always screamed quality, it’s vending machines. Jimmy Kimmel and Amy Poehler have also been flashing their mugs all over Old Navy lately, with Kimmel’s sidekick Guillermo partaking in some admittedly funny beach hijinks while wearing a stack of sandals.

With this two pronged strategy, I can only assume Old Navy is looking to appeal to the cheap hipsters while simultaneously pushing its more, uh, mature customers into the digital age. And believe it or not, but the strategy has payed off in huge dividends. Ivan Wicksteed from Old Navy is claiming that the sales figures brought in by the Twitter sale are rivaled only by black Friday numbers. This style of sale may be the big new promotional strategy, so look out for more players to try and get in on Old Navy’s action. For all you consumers though, if you can pry your eyes away from the beautiful and not so beautiful beach bodies this summer, Old Navy may have some flimsy sandals coming your way…

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Molson Beer Fridge Returns to Canada

Molson Canadian Beer Company’s custom fridge filled with the Canadian beer has returned to Canada.

The swanky fThe Molson beer fridge spent years traveling the globe. It went from downtown London to the depths of the jungle. ridge only opens for people with Canadian passports. On Canada Day – July 1 – Molson put a fresh twist on the successful marketing campaign, bringing it home to Canada and giving it a new unlocking gimmick.

Seeing as the vast majority of people in Canada logically possess Canadian passports, Molson has now decided to test Canadians’ level of patriotism. The fridge requires the thirsty individuals looking to unlock “the magic inside” to sing an accurate – or at least semi-accurate – rendition of “O Canada.” The Rethink agency says we’ll see more of the red refrigerators in the months to come. The Molson campaign, which has the tagline “I am Canadian,” will continue its tour, quenching the thirst of the parched throngs of Europe, and perhaps beyond.

Molson continues to show that there’s still mileage in the fridge campaign. With the nationalistic pride of the ads, it’s no surprise that Molson Canadian continues to be one of the top-selling beers in Canada.

Despite the company’s merger with Coors, the Molson brand continues to resonate with Canadian consumers. Fun, patriotic marketing campaigns like the Molson fridge deserve much of the credit.

I’ll be curious to see what Molson does with the fridge next. Perhaps it could travel America, requiring customers to name five active hockey players to open. Maybe the fridge will lead them through some sort of quiz regarding the basic rules of curling.

One thing that is clear – the Molson fridge campaign still has plenty of gas in the tank.

Howard Davidson Arlington MA

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Nestea Takes a ‘Plunge’ Reviving TV Ad

Nestea returns to American televisions after being gone for two decades with their revived “Take the Nestea Plunge” campaign.

Originally run from the Seventies through the Nineties, Publicis Hawkeye is bringing back to life Nestea’s original campaign, which is tied to a new reformulation that has reduced the beverage’s calories and improved its taste.

The main objective of the revived campaign is to regain shares lost by Nestea in recent years and the “Nestea Plunge into Summer” sweepstakes will surely help with that. Other companies such as Arizona have been seeing growth as consumers switch from soda to iced tea, which is perceived to be healthier.

The Nestea brand suffered because Nestlé and Coca-Cola disbanded their joint venture, Beverage Partners Worldwide, within the U.S. as of 2012. The Nestea brand was “marginalized” because it “hadn’t been actively communicated in a decade,” but now under the Nestlé Waters North America brand and leadership, there is renewed focus on rebuilding its sales and share. I guess

Rick Tanner, VP of marketing for Nestlé Waters, said that research shows that the “Take the Nestea Plunge” resonates with younger consumers and that many older customers still remember the campaign. The Nestea brand still has a 95 percent awareness among American consumers as well.

The “new” campaign includes a new TV ad and social media campaign with the hashtag ‘#NesteaPlunge’ for users to post their own pictures and videos.

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Kashi Has Crumbled in Court

Kashi, the all natural food company known for dreaming of a world where everyone embraces natural health, has crumbled in court.

The semantic battle of the century over the words ‘natural’ and ‘healthy’ is raging on like never before. Kellogg, who owns Kashi, took a pretty big hit by trying to pass off some synthetic compounds that do actually appear in nature as ‘natural’ on some food labels. Is something still ‘natural’ if it’s made in a factory? Apparently not, because Kellogg now has to pay five million dollars and take ‘all natural’ and ‘nothing artificial’ off of said labels. Just like Coca-Cola is being sued for having an infinitesimal amount of actual pomegranate juice in their Minute Made bottles, big food companies are constantly getting caught with their pants down whilst attempting to ride the wave of cash driven by a ravenous health food craze.

Of course the fact that Kellogg agreed to this settlement in no way means that they think they were in the wrong: “We will comply with the terms of the settlement agreement by the end of the year and will continue to ensure our foods meet our high quality…” You get the idea. I mean, just because you agree to change your company’s labels and pay millions of dollars in no way implies guilt, right? Kellogg is just another helpless corporation being slashed at by the nosey health foods crowd. It’s like I’ve always said, what’s so great about really being all natural anyway? I want to wear my green halo and unwittingly consume things like synthetic pyridoxine hydrochloride without a bunch of court cases bringing me down.

Either way, I suppose I’ll live to snack another day.

Howard Davidson Arlington MA

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Fiat’s ‘Endless Fun’ Series Defies Description

Fiat’s new series of spots titled “Endless Fun” defy description. I swear.

Descending into the fiery depths of laziness, ridiculousness and internet trend exploitation, the new ads for Fiat are just GIFs of stupid things happening in and around the new 500s. One such sequence involves a Marilyn Monroe-esque encounter with wind and a cat chasing a car on a TV screen. Not to disparage the 500, but I’m sure Fiat’s founders might have had a different vision for the future marketing of their autos. The ads, in addition to making no real sense, seem to be rubbing that fact in our faces with a guy in a horse mask looking at the camera and the words “deal with it” flashing across the screen in reference to an online meme whose popularity has long since peaked.

Chrysler’s CMO Oliver Francois is at the helm of this push to make the pint sized Fiats more palatable to the supersize me, SUV laden U.S. Public. And Mr Francois has zeroed in on some pretty nifty buzzwords to justify their new strategy, calling it: “Crazy weird. Crazy fun.” Well, maybe just that first word. Did I mention these spots are dirt cheap to produce?

The real driving force behind the GIF commercials soon becomes clear as soon as cost is brought up.

After all, GIFs are just a fast sequence of photos. Bottom line is that these is a trendy, eye catching and cheap line of commercials, but my real question is: Are the people who are going to be in on the internet references really old enough to buy a Fiat? Or even a pack of cigarettes?

And don’t even get me started on the twerking.

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UPS Is Changing Its Course

Spurred by the various wunderkinds of digital entrepreneurship, UPS is now changing its course.

Once known for their signature brown truck, the company’s new coat of brand paint looks more sleek and tries to be hip. And from what I can tell, the new marketing strategy isn’t even about shipping; it’s about being cool. Take the slogan: it went from “What can brown do for you?” to “We [heart] logistics”. Hotshot millenials don’t want to think about a clunky old truck slogging through the mud delivering their products at any speed. It’s all about a beautiful, seamless masterpiece of international commercial movement, or as Ad director Betsy Wilson described: “a ballet of infinite complexity played across skies, oceans and borders”. Yeah, ok.

Technology rules us all in some way, and what some are calling the “post adolescent CEOs” want to hear about how cutting edge their technology is, not just its quality.

The ‘selfie’ ridden millennial generation has even seeped its way into the visual of UPS’ ads. Check out and compare the 1992 images to today’s. The older one shows a decked out UPS truck, while the other shows YOU, a customer. This pretty radical rebranding also falls in line with a recently planned reach into Asia for UPS, which would make their ballet even more expansive and intricate.

A lot of companies look like they’re getting off their ‘you kids get off my lawn’ syndrome and starting to listen to the preferences of millennials. I guess the more money these whippersnappers get, the more brands will be made in their likeness.

You win, hipsters.

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Bud Light’s Beer for Whatever Happens

Bud Light has a beer for whatever happens.

Probably fulfilling a lot of grown men’s wildest fantasies, Budweiser is going to be taking over an entire main street as an extension of their “Up for whatever” campaign. If your memory doesn’t date back to February, the centerpiece of Bud Light’s Super Bowl ad last year saw a ‘non actor’ get swept away for a night of fun and adventure that featured celebrities, llamas, and beating Arnold Schwarzenegger at table tennis. The Chicago Sun Times interviewed the actor, and he claimed that he was oblivious to the whole setup: “I didn’t know what was going on. Not the slightest clue. But I knew I just had to go with it.” Personally, this video looked like it had just about as much reality to it as Kim Kardashian’s first wedding but hey, it was entertaining nonetheless.

Getting back to Bud Light’s latest move, the entire operation sounds like it will basically turn part of a U.S. city into a kind of adult Disneyland. And part of the story is that there are very few details actually available about how the final project is gonna look in order to maintain the surprise. Ad Age is predicting that the city of choice is going to be in Colorado but don’t dismay, because there is a sliver of hope that your town will be the site of this indistinct Bud Light orgy.

For a beer that tastes like watered down bathwater, I shudder to think what an entire town’s reaction would be to their intrusion but maybe we’ll find out in a totally real commercial during the next Super Bowl. They just have to be up for whatever!

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Alcohoot App Helps You Be A Smarter Drinker

Alcohoot is a new app that can test your BAC. Allegedly, the app tracks your body’s reaction to alcohol and helps you become a umm, smarter drinker.

The smart app is a smartphone-powered breathalyzer, that’s supposed to help you gauge your BAC and put a stop to further consumption before things get out of control. The $119 device, which boasts “police-grade accuracy” and plugs into your handset’s headphone jack, is available for party animals.

Drunken people don’t typically make the most responsible decisions. So that’s where Alcohoot comes to the table. You gotta see how a woman in the app’s commercial first encounters Alcohoot. If you ask me, the ad has about as much reality to it as a good old WWE match; users just can’t believe how much they’ve had to drink!

To all those with a DUI adorning their record, using the device might trigger some troubling flashbacks. A bulky mouthpiece is attached to the top of an iPhone while the tester blows into it and hopes for the best. There is something to be said for knowing when you’re over the edge but do you really want to fork over a hundred bucks to be labeled the buzz kill of the group? Plus, I have a sneaking suspicion that if Alcohoot got into the wrong hands, it could be used as a kind of competition to see which frat brother could get the most dangerous.

But according to the big wigs at Alcohoot, the gears are already in motion to distribute this breathalyzer nationwide. And if this thing is able to net the younger demo with its technology and novelty, more power to them, because that age is where the risks are.

I just have one quick question. Could there be a way for the app to prevent a user from engaging in other embarrassing things while intoxicated? Like if I blow a .10 could it block all outgoing texts? Or can this app double as a CPAP machine for sleep apnea?

But in the meantime, let’s all be irresponsible responsibly.

Howard Davidson Arlington MA

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