Subway Dominates Sunday Night TV
That evening, one of the sandwich chain's executives will be starring on CBS's "Undercover Boss," while over on NBC, Subway will be running a 30-second kick-off show and a commercial during "Sunday Night Football."
And just for good measure, on Fox, Michael Strahan (who hosts the "Subway Post Game Show" following Fox Sports football coverage) will be featured in three placements promoting Subway products between the animated lineup of "The Simpsons," "The Cleveland Show," "Family Guy" and "American Dad." (Did we mention the 15-second spot during "The Cleveland Show"?)
For Subway, it might be ideal if the "Undercover Boss" episode were not up against the game (and a Giants vs. Eagles match that's likely to draw even higher-than-normal viewership, to boot). "From an audience standpoint, it's a very competitive time slot, so it will be interesting to see how the ["Undercover Boss"] ratings turn out," Tony Pace, SVP and CMO of the Subway Franchisee Advertising Fund Trust, tells Marketing Daily.
On the other hand, CBS will be promoting "Undercover Boss" during its own football game coverage earlier in the day -- and being on three different networks simultaneously in prime time would probably sound like a "good problem" to most brands.
The "Undercover Boss" episode will feature Subway chief development officer Don Fertman (using the name/identity "John Wilson") interacting, as an employee, with real store managers and other staff.
For the show, Fertman, a 29-year veteran of the chain credited by Subway with being "pivotal" in its growth, performed standard jobs such as baking bread, slicing vegetables and serving customers, while also observing specifics like how the chain's new breakfast menu is working on the front lines. His experience yielded "terrific best practices" that will be shared throughout the organization, Fertman reported in the chain's announcement of the upcoming "UB" episode.
From a marketing standpoint, having Fertman's experience featured on "UB" represents a valuable opportunity to reach consumers and franchisees with a broader branding message, as opposed to the generally product-specific messages conveyed in Subway's commercials and media integration efforts, says Pace.
In addition to PR/media outreach, Subway is promoting the "UB" episode through advertising (such as its standing front-page "color bar" and other space in USA Today), radio, and social media including Facebook -- efforts feasible within the context of short notice of CBS's decision on the specific air date, says Pace.
Subway's extensive media presence includes ample sports event exposure (the "Subway Post Game Show," for example) -- which, of course, meshes with the chain's multimedia "Famous Fans" campaign featuring athletes ranging from Olympics swimming medalist Michael Phelps to NASCAR driver Carl Edwards.
Recently, Subway also has been teaming longtime weight-loss/healthy living spokesperson Jared Fogle with the high-profile athletes. Leading up to Fogle's ING NYC Marathon run (which generated huge exposure for the brand, Pace confirms), he was shown training with marathon champ Meb Keflezighi, and interviewed on Strahan's post-game show.
The brand also employs product placements on talk shows (including Jimmy Kimmel and Jimmy Fallon), has an ongoing advertising/placement deal with NBC's "Chuck," and increased its presence on "Biggest Loser" by sponsoring a contestant during the latest season.