Promotion and Publicity
Sales Promotion, Public Relations, and Publicity Plan for Subway Sandwiches
In the past, Subway Sandwiches has released a series of sales promotions targeting both new audiences and current customers. For instance, the restaurant instituted punch cards that allowed the user a free sub-after a certain number of subs were purchased. The company also tried a variety of sales promotions involving pricing, such as a list of six-inch sandwiches available for $2.49. Currently, the restaurant is promoting its foot-long sandwiches with a series of sandwiches available for five dollars; this was preceded by an older “Two for Tuesdays” campaign that allowed customers to purchase two sandwiches for one price (Advertising and Promotion 2005). Although Subway’s sales promotions have earned reasonably successful results, a list of innovative sales promotions follows.
The Subway Dollar Menu- Unlike Wendy’s, McDonalnds, Burger King, and even KFC, Subway has no dollar or value menu. In fact, as far as fast food goes, the food sold at the restaurant is fairly expensive. Although Subway can charge higher prices than its counterparts because of their sandwiches, which use “fresh” ingredients and greater amounts of ingredients than the average hamburger or chicken sandwich, an excellent promotion for the restaurant would be to create a snack size sandwich that could be sold for around $1.
The restaurant could then make the promotion even larger by creating a snack sized meal that includes the sandwich, a cookie, and a drink for a lower price than the full size meals.
Menu Additions- Through advertising and product selection, Subway has tried to distance itself from fast food competitors for quite some time. Although McDonalds, Burger King, and even Arby’s have tried to launch submarine sandwiches, Subway’s unique products have allowed the restaurant to become the leader in sub-sandwich sales. Regardless, other fast food restaurants like McDonalds, Wendy’s, and even Taco Bell have a variety of menu options, which range from smoothies and sandwiches to salads and sweets. Subway offers only drinks, chips, cookies, and sandwiches, which can be ordered as salads. In order to promote their food, Subway should launch a variety of new menu items like classy coffee drinks, smoothies, and unique hot foods like potpies or stir fry bowls. This way, Subway will attract not only current customers, but new customers and groups of people who can all be satisfied by dining together.
Time Guarantee — Customers want fast food to be just that, fast. Potential Subway customers will choose McDonalds, Burger King, or Wendy’s because the restaurants make known the fact that they seek to deliver the customer’s order in the least amount of time possible. Some of these customers may be daunted from choosing Subway because they expect a longer weight time for a custom sandwich. Because they must instruct workers how to make their sandwiches almost from scratch, potential customers may also be concerned that Subway employees may make errors when constructing their orders. A way to attack this presumption is a sales promotion that offers free sandwiches for customers who have to wait longer than a certain time period for their orders or who receive incorrect orders. With this guarantee, customers will be more than likely to visit the restaurant in hopes of receiving free food, and pleasantly surprised when they recognize how quickly and accurately their orders were put together.
On the Go Menu Changes — Subway is not known to be one of the faster paced fast food restaurants. Instead, many do not eat at the establishment because some restaurants lack drive-throughs, and even those restaurants with drive-throughs may daunt customers who don’t want to take the time to place a custom order.. In order to deal with this problem, Subway must first initialize a menu change by providing several “on the go” sandwiches. In addition to the time guarantee, these on the go ideas will allow customers to have their orders as quickly as possible Customers will have the option of ordering “on the go” sandwiches at the cashier’s station. “On the go” sandwiches will be “fresh” sandwiches made every hour and placed in the cooler with condiments on the side. To save money, Subway should offer only basic “on the go” sandwiches, like turkey, roast beef, or Italian BMT. In addition to “On the Go” sandwiches, the restaurant will need to implement a system allowing customers to place orders over the phone, internet, and text messaging and then pick up those orders as soon as they enter the store or go through the drive-through.
PR and Publicity
In the past, Subway has participated in a variety of publicity and public relations campaigns that have earned the company national attention from news media and individuals. Probably the best example of this is Subway spokesman Jared and his Subway diet. In 2004 Jared, a 26-year-old, claimed to have lost 245 pounds by walking to Subway restaurants and eating Subway sandwiches (the Subway Diet 2004). Since their creation, Subway’s PR and Publicity campaigns have primarily targeted audiences that seek healthy and fresh foods. The Subway Diet is the most effective of these publicity campaigns. Although Jared actually did loose weight via the Subway diet without solicitation from the restaurant, his success allowed the sandwich shop to effectively run a publicity campaign that further distanced the restaurant from other fast food chains. In fact, Jared helped Subway distance themselves by claiming that his struggle with weight resulted partly from his consumption of other fast foods (the Subway Diet 2004).
Jared is still a symbol for Subway and the restaurant’s PR and publicity plan targeted toward audiences who want healthier, fresher foods, but Subway cannot rely on Jared forever. Though the dieter still appears on the company’s website (Subway n.d.) and should remain there, Subway now needs to launch a campaign targeted toward audiences that do not choose fast food restaurants because of healthy or fresh ingredients, but rather toward those who choose fast food because of its price and convenience. Like the sales promotions proposed above, the following PR and Publicity campaign will target these consumers.
Subway needs a publicity campaign as large as Jared once was, one that targets consumers who don’t want to spend a lot of money on fast food. One of the largest blocks of these types of consumers is college students, and even, in some cases, high school students. The typical student is young enough to eat most anything without really being concerned about how it affects his or her health or weight. Instead, college students choose where to dine based on inexpensive food, where their friends eat, and whether or not the food is prepared fast enough to meet their daily class and social schedule.
In order to emphasize the fact that Subway is not just for overweight people in their mid twenties, like Jared once was, the shop needs to find a new Jared, a younger Jared, a college student or group of college students who choose Subway based on its convenience and price. Although going with another Jared model may seem unoriginal, the restaurant’s great amount of success with the previous campaign justifies its reuse of the idea. The younger, college aged Jareds will address three areas and target markets: those who choose fast food because of time, those who choose fast food because of cost, and those who choose to eat with their friends, or in social situations.
Those Who Choose Fast Food Because of Time
Subway should begin this PR campaign in order to address some of the recent sales promotions, including the time guarantee and the on the go menu changes. Using television and radio air time, the restaurant should choose the college-aged Jared to star in a variety of commercials targeting those who do not want to waste time at Subway. The college-aged spokesperson should be a typical, healthy student who shares his experience about being tired of eating greasy food from McDonalds and Taco Bell while explaining that he or she is not willing to stand in line between classes. The students should end the commercial with an introduction of the time guarantee and the on the go menu.
Those Who Choose to Eat Fast Food Because of Cost
Though many people value taste over cost when it comes to food, some choose to go through the drive-through at Wendy’s, McDonalds, Taco Bell, and Burger King in order to order off the dollar menu. This is especially applicable to customers with children who have to buy more food than an individual. Similarly, college students eat a large amount of fast food not just for convenience, but also because it is inexpensive and works with their limited budgets. In order to target the group of consumers that choose fast food because it is inexpensive, a second facet of the restaurant’s PR campaign should be concerned with promoting the cost effective sales promotions, such as the inexpensive snack sized sandwiches designed to compete with dollar menus. The primary method for this publicity campaign must be radio. Fast food markets cater to those who live fast-paced, busy lives, and many people make quick decisions to eat fast food when they’re on the road. Commercials using the college-aged Jared should appear in a limited capacity on television, but in a greater capacity on the radio. The spokesperson should use the commercial in order to compare Subway’s prices with those of other fast food restaurants while distancing the sandwich shop’s products from the products offered at other fast food establishments. A slogan might sound something like this: “Subway. Because the dollar menu doesn’t have to be so greasy.” Using the college-aged Jared to publicize these prices over the radio will convince many to make a fast-paced decision to choose Subway over comparatively priced fast food restaurants.
Those who choose to eat with their friends or in social situations
Subway’s current sales promotion advertising a foot-long sandwich for only five dollars is an excellent way to promote Subway as a place for friends to eat together. Two people can share a Subway foot-long for five dollars, making for a very inexpensive lunch. Unfortunately, Subway has not used a strategy involving friends eating together or social situations to publicize this sales promotion, but has concentrated, rather, on a PR campaign centered on price. In addition to the current sales promotion, the menu changes proposed in the sales promotion part of this plan can also be marketed as incentives to encourage friends and social groups to eat together.
This feature of the publicity campaign should include the college-aged Jared and a group of friends, perhaps a study group or other organization that would help identify them with the student target group. The college-aged Jared can promote Subway as a “place for friends to eat together.” Radio and television advertisements can feature school groups holding meetings at Subway because the new, varied menu has “something everyone enjoys” and the five dollar foot-longs allow for a “shared lunch and a shared experience.” In addition to the radio and television advertisements, Subway should target college campuses and high schools during this PR and publicity campaign. Handing out coupons, hosting booths at student events, and hanging posters that describe Subway as a “place for friends to eat together” would go a long way in encouraging students as a target audience to frequent the restaurant.
Finally, establishments like Starbucks have marketed their restaurants as places not only to eat and consume coffee, but also as establishments for relaxation and social interaction. Subway could encourage the same type of atmosphere by making physical changes to their restaurants such as including couches, televisions, and free WI-FI. Advertising the new changes via television, radio, and posters will encourage those who want to eat in social situations to choose the restaurant.
Developing creative ideas for Subway sandwiches is a challenging task because the United States fast food market has already exercised many creative ideas when it comes to marketing their products. Because Subway has an advantage over the rest of the fast food market with its unique products, however, the restaurant also has an advantage when it comes to developing creative ideas.
One of the best ways to develop creative ideas for the restaurant is to expand on the creative ideas that have already been used. For example, Jared and the Subway Diet was an extremely effective creative idea and promotional tool, judging simply from the fact that the diet, which was launched in 2004, is still being used today as a marketing tool (the Subway Diet 2004; Subway 2008). Subway should continue developing creative ideas based on this model for several reasons. First of all, Subway caters to a market that desires fresh and healthy foods. This is a unique characteristic of Subway that does not apply to other fast food restaurants. By developing creative ideas based on the Jared model, Subway will be able to continue to cater to those who want fresh and healthy foods. Some examples of creative ideas that can be inspired by the Jared model are certain diets for specific individuals. Subway could design certain diets around certain spokespeople from different ethnographic groups. For instance, an active young woman, an elderly couple, and an older child could all become “Jareds” with certain diets. Customers could log onto the company’s web site in order to participate in and track their diets along with the spokespeople’s diets. Every year, a contest could be held for the next spokespeople, who will be given rewards and free sandwiches if they stay healthy.
Another area in which Subway has an advantage over other fast food markets is the fact that the company offers a unique product. This is exemplified by the fact that most other fast food restaurants do not have sub-sandwiches or sandwiches with deli meat. Those restaurants that do include lunch meat or sub-sandwiches often take the products off the menu after a short run. For instance, Wendy’s recently had a selection of deli sandwiches available on its menu. Now, only one of those sandwiches is currently offered. Creative ideas should be developed with this unique product in mind. Subway should develop creative ideas based on the sub-sandwich’s superiority over the hamburger as an American fast food. Marketing and public relations campaigns should attempt to promote subs as a unique, healthy, and delicious food.
Anonymous. (September 3, 2004). The Subway Diet. CBS: 48 Hours Investigates.
Retrieved June 10, 2008 at http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/03/02/48hours/main603484.shtml.
Anonymous. (2008). Subway. Retrieved June 10, 2008 from www, subway.com.
South Western. (2005). Selecting Advertising Objectives. Advertising and Promotion.
Retrieved June 10, 2008 at http://classes.bus.oregonstate.edu/ba495/Materials/ch11.ppt.
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