Subway Names Dentsu's 360i its Social Media Agency

The Move Comes After a Months-Long Review

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Subway spokesman, Jared
Subway spokesman, Jared

Subway has hired Dentsu's 360i as its global social agency after a months-long review.

"360i impressed us with the depth of their expertise in social media as well as their thoughtful strategic and integrated messaging recommendations," said Subway's CMO Tony Pace in a statement. "They will help us navigate this rapidly evolving and highly competitive global landscape."

Among the responsibilities the agency will be tasked with are: social and content strategy and execution, community management and social listening. The goal is to "drive engagement and conversation," the agency said.

In the fast food category, Subway is the second-largest ad spender in the U.S., trailing only McDonald's, according to Kantar Media. Still, Subway in 2010 surpassed McDonald's Corp. to become the world's largest restaurant chain based on number of units, according to the Ad Age DataCenter. In 2012, it spent $544 million on U.S. advertising, up 8.6% from $475 million in 2011, according to the DataCenter.

The chain has long worked with Boston-based MMB on creative and it works with MediaCom on media.

The incumbent for social media, Zocalo Group, which is a subsidiary of Omnicom PR shop Ketchum, said it was not involved in the review. "It was a really lovely run. I think the brand had it in mind to make some changes and when asked if we'd like to participate in a re-pitch we politely recused ourselves from it," said the shop's CEO Paul Rand. The Chicago-based social agency started working with the brand about five years ago, one year after spinning off from parent Ketchum.

Mr. Rand said that the shop stopped working with the company about three months ago.

For 360i, the win is another addition to the roster this year. In the last six months, the shop won business from Equifax and Unilever's Ben & Jerry's. It also comes on the heels of 360i's global expansion this year into London and Sao Paulo.

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