Sub Standard Marketing – The Good, Bad, and Ugly of Sandwich Advertising
Here’s some good life news: you don’t have to be smart to have a job.
You don’t even have to be good at your job to get your job.
I know this- because I watch commercials. If you watch commercials, you know this too. Commercials, an expensive product meant solely to make you want to buy something, can be so poorly planned that they actually have the exact opposite effect. The person who makes these commercials, is getting paid a good sum of money to achieve these counter-productive results.
Really, anyone, can get a job (maybe more so when the economy escapes the sewer.)
“the Good Badger, can you give us a specific example of your proposed marketing incompetence?”
Why, yes I can, thanks for asking.
How Quizno’s Ran the Worst Marketing Campaign of all time
Anyone who’s eaten at Quizno’s knows first hand that they make a quality sandwich. Put an unbranded Subway product next to Quizno’s and you’ll choose the latter 10 times out of 10 (assuming you have taste buds). Although Quizno’s has the clear advantage on taste, Subway wins where it counts- selling sandwiches.
How is it that Subway sells more sandwiches with an inferior product? Consumers will choose the best product, right? Ask anyone who’s owned a Volkswagon Jetta- they know first hand that this is not the case.
Subway sells more sandwiches than Quizno’s because they understand marketing. In the consumer’s brain, they’re buying Subway because it’s cheap, it’s fresh, and it’s healthy. Let us consider a few of things though:
- Eating healthy, is not cheap. Especially if you’re eating out. What Subway’s selling is cheap, low-quality vegetables. A vegetable’s’ “health” is reflected in it’s color and water density. A nutrientless vegetable is basically water and fiber, and you can get both of those much cheaper at a faucet and nutritional store. Are the vegetables that you’re getting at your Subway dark and water dense? If so, I need to start going to your Subway.
- Eating Subway, is not cheap. At least not in comparison to other sub places and bringing your own sandwich. The difference in cost between Subway and Quizno’s is much smaller than the difference between Subway and grocery shopping. Going to the grocery store is both cheaper and healthier. You eat out because it’s a treat, and the relative difference in cost to Quizno’s should be seemingly insignificant.
- You select the ingredients at every sandwich shop. You can load your sandwich with chipotle mayonnaise, bacon, and cheddar at Subway and put only lettuce and vinegar on your sandwich at Quizno’s. What you’re paying for at Subway is the idea of health.
Subway’s Marketing Strategy
Ask anyone what they know about “Jared” (don’t even prompt them on the subject) and they will likely tell you about an obese guy who walked to Subway and transformed his body to become only pretty chubby. They repetitively drill into our heads this concept of cheap, fresh, and healthy. You’ve seen Jared’s fat jeans more times than many of your own pants. They hire professional athletes, the most physically conditioned people on earth, to endorse their product. They use catchy songs to hook the low price of their sandwich in your head. They have the consumer under their trance.
They- are good at marketing.
Now, let’s take a look at what Quizno’s wants us to know about their sandwiches:
Someone got paid to make that.
I understand what the commercial is trying to do- make 18 year old guys and pot heads laugh. This is common practice with advertising. Conventional wisdom states that the funnier the ad, the more likely you’ll be able to recall it, and thus it’s used as a barometer of success. The only problem with this theory is it doesn’t work. Humor by itself is not a recipe for advertising success. Humor can be a successful tactic IF it reinforces a positive trait of your company (or occasionally a negative quality of a competitor or both). Otherwise, you’ll just recall the comedy and lose the brand, which might be a victory for the advertising agency but not for the company.
Consumers don’t process most decisions with any depth (we’re inundated with decisions every day, it’s a coping mechanism), so they construct shortcuts. Brand perception is no exception. The core responsibility for any marketing department, is to create the perception of the brand. If this is done well, a good marketing strategy will build this meaningful shortcut for us. If this is done poorly, rats with guitars will result.
Subway tactfully and consistently reinforces their mantra: cheap, fresh, healthy. Quizno’s allocated their resources to periodontitis rodents. This is a bad idea for most businesses, but if you’re in the business of selling food, you have successfully done irreparable damage to your brand.
Although the moral of this story would appear to be marketing-centric, it is not. The key takeaway today lady or gentleman, is that if the Quizno’s head or marketing has a job, anyone can have any job. Just imagine how easy it would be if you were really good at it and knew how to let people know it.