Online Exclusive: Account Action

SUBWAY FIRES GOODBY, SILVERSTEIN & PARTNERS

'Not Every Relationship Works Out' Says Spokesman

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SAN FRANCISCO (AdAge.com) -- Subway Restaurants has fired Goodby, Silverstein & Partners of San Francisco less than a year after hiring the advertising agency.
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"We were fired," confirmed Jeff Goodby, co-chairman of the agency. He said he did not anticipate layoffs as a result of the major account loss.

"Not every relationship works out," said Subway spokesman Mack Bridenbacker.

Working with McCarthy Mambro Bertino
Mr. Bridenbacker said Subway is happy with the work it is getting from independent ad agency McCarthy Mambro Bertino, Boston, which has been handling projects, including spots that are part of the long-running Jared Fogle campaign. Mr. Fogle, who lost weight by including Subway sandwiches in his diet, has become the chain's brand icon. Subway executives have said when ads featuring Mr. Fogle stop running, sales dropped as much as 10%.

In addition to tactical work, Goodby Silverstein's first major campaign for Subway broke in this year's Super Bowl, featuring a humorous TV effort centered on the heat generated by the chain's toasted sandwiches. In one spot, for example, a child expressed horror when a snowman given the sandwich melts. The campaign is a response to the inroads competitor Quiznos Subs has made into the category with its toasted sandwiches.

In recent months, the agency has been working on a project to update the Jared Fogle positioning, but that campaign was scuttled.

Doesn't need additional help
In a statement, Tom Seddon, president Subway Franchisees Advertising Fund Trust, said Goodby Silverstein "did a lot of terrific work in its short time with us. We simply feel that our needs are being met at the present time without the additional help."

Subway's senior vice president and director of marketing, Chris Carroll, who headed marketing and advertising for almost six years, resigned last week. Mr. Carroll, who brought Goodby Silverstein to the account, was unavailable for comment.

A blow to agency
The loss was the year's second blow for the agency, which earlier lost the eBay account. On the positive side, it picked up advertising duties for cable giant Comcast.

Subway spent $289 million in advertising in 2004 and $85 million in the first quarter of 2005, according to TNS Media Intelligence.

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Kate MacArthur contributed to this report.

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