'Charismatic' Yet 'Cringeworthy': Quiznos CMO On The Return Of Its Brand Mascots


Last week Marketing Daily covered the return of the Spongmonkeys -- Quiznos’ quirky singing, road-tripping, rodent-like mascots with human teeth and eyes -- who were petitioning in a new campaign for a day of recovery after Halloween.

Not seen since their exit from Quiznos’ advertising in the mid-2000s, the polarizing off-key spokes(things?) are hard to ignore. QSR Insider heard from Quiznos Chief Marketing Officer Brent Philip on why the Spongmonkeys have returned, and how Quiznos is considered a cult brand that fits with the individuality of the mascots.

QSR Insider:  Why resurrect the Spongmonkeys?

Brent Philip: The Spongmonkeys left TV screens in about 2005, but in the years since they have remained imprinted on the cultural imagination due to their charisma, cringeworthiness, and overwhelming positivity for the subs.

We don’t claim that everyone loves them -- but they are undoubtedly memorable, and some have conjured a tremendous following.

Resurrecting the Spongmonkeys now … marks the resurgence the Quiznos brand is making today. Their return provides a strong platform for the brand to communicate its new growth trajectory with audiences and engage with the immense fanbase that has been calling for Quiznos to come back.

QSR Insider:  What exactly ARE the Spongmonkeys?

Philip: In short, they are a pair of eternal creatures who love nothing but the subs and maintain an ever-positive attitude. They are, by all intents, experienced and understood differently by all.

QSR Insider: Who is the creative agency behind the work? Is it the same as when they first appeared?

Philip: We brought together a great, creatively invigorated team to bring them back that differed from years ago. We reengaged the original creator of the Spongmonkeys, Joel Veitch, and gained support from [ad agency] Tank to create the ads and [London-based PR agency] Brazil for the ongoing activations."

QSR Insider: The Spongmonkeys had a mixed public response upon their original release. How has initial response been to their return?

Philip: Overwhelmingly positive. We've been pleasantly surprised by how many people have voiced their love for the Spongmonkeys and how few people have cried their dislike. In fact, we’ve asked people to vote “Love‘em” or “Hate‘em” on the website, and thousands of results show an 85% “Love‘em” rating at this time.

QSR Insider: What is next for the Spongmonkeys? More ads? More songs?

Philip: The Spongmonkeys are gearing up for lots of fun happenings in the coming months -- and we may or may not have created a real-life one. More will be revealed soon!

QSR Insider:  Why is Quiznos now considered a "cult" sandwich chain?

Philip: It's defined by the feeling and feedback that we get from our fans. Quiznos may not be in every city that it used to be, [a fact] that fans overcome by driving out of their way and putting in the extra effort to get their hands on one their favorite toasted sub recipes. We get ongoing emails and social media messages asking when Quiznos will come to [insert city], representing the dedicated group that makes up the cult-like following Quiznos maintains.

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