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During the tail end of Subway’s 60-second broadcast ad called, “Anthem,” which debuted during NBC’s evening coverage of the Winter Olympics on Feb. 15, the final two captions read: “In life and in food, don’t take what you are given. MAKE IT WHAT YOU WANT.”
Subway officials launched the multichannel marketing campaign to showcase real people living their best lives, while forging a deeper emotional connection with their customers. It defines the brand in a more contemporary, engaging way.
The campaign comes after a major shift in marketing strategy for the sandwich chain, which, for the first time in more than 25 years, saw Subway consolidate its U.S. and Canadian media and creative business with one partner.
For the past few years, in particular, Subway officials have held a customer-centric approach that includes a laser focus on meeting customer expectations—an integral aspect of attaining brand loyalty. Customers today expect hyper-convenience and perfect personalization, with the best digital customer engagements delivering against these themes in a way that surprises and delights.
Subway Digital was created in June 2016 to deliver digital products and experiences to its guests. Since then, Subway has launched a variety of digital products, including digital menu boards, kiosks, a Facebook messenger bot, and a new app.
Subway, a privately held company that has 46,000 global restaurants (more than McDonald’s), has endured sinking sales in recent years, according to published reports.
Chris Carroll, Subway’s Chief Advertising Officer, talked to Loyalty360 about the “Make It What You Want” campaign and how it marks a new direction for the company.
“The ‘Make It What You Want’ campaign showcases what’s been at the core of our brand—freshly made meals that guests customize and make their own—while creating an emotional connection,” Carroll explained. “Like with all our advertising, we do extensive consumer research prior to launching. ‘Make It What You Want’ was informed by data on how our guests interact with us.”
Carroll said Subway’s marketing strategy hasn’t shifted.
“There really isn’t a major shift in the overall marketing strategy, but it’s a shift in our advertising strategy,” Carroll explained. “We believe we can develop creative messaging that resonates with our core audiences.”
Subway’s brand messaging is changing with the times, as the campaign offers other messages such as: “MAKE IT BIG. MAKE IT EPIC. MAKE IT FAST. MAKE IT FUN. MAKE IT HOT. MAKE IT COLD. MAKE IT FRESH.
“We’re defining who we are in a more contemporary way with this campaign,” Carroll said. “It showcases how we’re uniting our brand with today’s consumer’s lifestyles. But the fundamentals don’t change—freshly made, affordable, and delicious sandwiches are still at our core.”
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