Subway is launching a formal North America agency review that could include bringing creative and media together as the sandwich chain tries to bounce back to growth under a new marketing executive.
Subway's U.S. sales fell 1.7% to $11.3 billion in 2016, making it the only restaurant among the top 10 chains to post a decline, according to Technomic.
Subway said it is "looking for partners with deep expertise and focus on content, connection, and analytics." The company hopes to have a new agency or agencies in place by early next year, it said.
The review includes current agency partners and what it described as a handful of other agencies and agency families. "We are evaluating all options, including bringing creative and media together, to drive efficiency and effectiveness across channels in a changing landscape," Subway said.
The review comes three months after Subway hired Accenture's Karlin Linhardt to the new role of senior VP-marketing, North America.
In 2016, before Linhardt joined the company, Subway gave most of its creative business back to former incumbent MMB after working with BBDO for about a year. Earlier this month it began airing a campaign focused on its footlongs from The Martin Agency, which did the work on a project basis.
Subway's U.S. ad spending declined 1.7% to $509 million in 2016, according to the Ad Age Datacenter.