Sandwich chain Firehouse Subs has appointed Marc USA its new agency of record following a formal review. The incumbent agency was Zimmerman and the review included 19 agencies.
This account switch represents a fresh start for the gourmet sandwich chain started by former firefighters in 1994. Eight years ago, Firehouse Subs nearly went bankrupt as a result of its "crappy marketing," as one source put it, and in 2008, decided to embark on a what it considered a novel strategy to forgo the 2% royalty that franchisees paid for marketing in order to let them handle it themselves.
The plan didn't work so the founders then partnered with Zimmerman to revitalize the business, aided by a marketing budget that collected 4% from its franchisees.
Now, however, Firehouse Subs is seeking a new direction as it plans to double in size by 2020. Currently it has 900 locations in 43 states.
"We searched for an agency partner that could help us break through creatively in a billion dollar competitive space and take our brand to the next level," says Robin Sorenson, co-founder, Firehouse Subs. "Marc USA brought us the big ideas that are right in line with what Firehouse Subs stands for, and it connected with us."
The $30-million annual account will be led out of the agency’s Chicago office. However, just as the winning pitch was a cross-office effort, expertise from Marc USA's Boston and Pittsburgh offices will continue to be utilized, say agency executives. Marc’s first campaign is expected to launch in late February.
“We’re proud to work with a growing brand that has such a commitment to doing what’s right– from quality food and bold flavors to the hospitality in their restaurants, the way they treat their franchisees and their dedication to supporting first responders everywhere they operate," says Jean McLaren, President of Marc USA Chicago and leader of the pitch team.