Subway Restaurants, the largest restaurant franchise in the world, is going wide and deep with NBC Sports in a multi-platform marketing deal starring Michael Phelps and brand ambassador Jared Fogle.
The deal, promoting both Subway and NBC Sports programming, touts Subway as food for sports viewing. The segments feature Phelps, the Olympic gold medalist in swimming, and Fogle in ads that will air this quarter and next on NBC programming during prime time, late night, and on NBC Sports programming, including "Football Night in America." Subway will use its "Fresh" messaging and promote Subway catering options.
On-air activation during sports programming includes "Fresh Take" features that highlight up-and-coming football players during select "Sunday Night Football" broadcasts; presenting sponsorship of "Football Night in America" on Wildcard Saturday, Jan. 10; sponsorship of "Game of the Week" intermission reports airing during each NBC Sports hockey game, and a series of "Fresh Take" features to air during the U. S. Figure Skating Championships in January.
Subway will also be featured on "Sunday Night Football Extra" on NBCSports.com, which simulcasts "Sunday Night Football" games and has other content throughout the season.
Tony Pace, CMO of the Subway Franchisee Advertising Fund Trust, tells Marketing Daily that the new effort is not the first with NBC, but it is the most comprehensive. "We have done lots of stuff with NBC, including integration with 'The Biggest Loser,' he says. "But this is the first time we have done a deal with this scope within the sports arena."
He says the program developed from conversations Subway had with senior marketers at NBC Sports. "We had conversations with Dick Ebersol [chairman of NBC Universal Sports & Olympics], and we talked about the fact that there are lots of things we have a shared interest in, and that this was a way of doing something bigger for both of us." He points out that NBC has a marketing relationship with Phelps, who also happens to be a "Favorite Fan" of Subway.
Subway signed Phelps to a long-term deal last November. Once the pot-smoking scandal surrounding Phelps hit the ether, Phelps issued a formal apology in February, and Subway stuck with the swimmer, launching a "Be Yourself" spot this summer starring Phelps and Fogle.