While sales for the sandwich chain have jumped 37% to $5.2 billion since 2000 behind campaigns that stress its fresh- and diet-friendly products, the chain's marketing board launched the review to "ensure it was getting the best options available," said Chris Carroll, marketing director for Subway Franchisee Advertising Fund Trust.
'Different and better'
"We went from being an also-ran to, in the consumers mind, a category leader, and we want to make sure our advertising reflects that," Mr. Carroll said. "We want the level and quality of advertising to be the best we can and we believe we should be doing different and better advertising."
The Milford, Conn.-based Subway is owned by Doctor's Associates.
Subway retained Joanne Davis Consulting, New York, to handle the closed review, with 12 to 15 agencies already identified as having "proven ability to build a brand." Agencies will vie for global strategic planning and creative development duties while Grey Global Group's MediaCom will continue to handle media buying and planning for the $200 million-plus account.
Subway's incumbent of three years, Havas' Euro RSCG MVBMS, New York, will defend its account, but Mr. Carroll declined to name other participants. Four to five contenders will then make presentations to the SFAFT board in June for a mid-July decision.
"I want to have new work on air by fall," Mr. Carroll said.
Messner created advertising featuring for the current "Eat Fresh" campaign and continued the "Subway Diet" effort first developed by now-folded agency Publicis & Hal Riney, Chicago, that featured Jared Fogle, who lost 245 pounds eating nothing but Subway sandwiches. Mr. Carroll shifted the account from Publicis to Messner in March 2000.
"We are proud of the work we've done to help Subway achieve its most recent period of explosive growth and, given our deep understanding of the brand, we're confident we'll be a part of Subway's future success," John Berg, President, Euro RSCG MVBMS, said in a statement.