Subway Buys Into Seven Online Games

Embedded Billboards Direct Teens to Marketer's Web Site

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NEW YORK ( -- In a bid to better directly target teens -- the group that makes up 17% of its customers -- Subway Restaurants has signed an in-game advertising deal with Massive for seven teen-focused games.

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Billboards within the gamescapes will promote Subway's online humor Web site.

Billboard ads in the games initially will feature Subway's viral humor Web site,, to drive visitors there. (SA stands for Sandwich Artist, the name the chain calls its crew members.) The site features humorous short videos made by independent artists that Subway commissioned and is hoping will be passed along from friend to friend.

'Relevant to their lifestyles'
"We wanted to make sure we are talking to [teens] in a way and a place that is relevant to their lifestyle so they know we understand them," said Michelle Cordial, director-brand management for Subway's Franchisee Advertising Fund Trust.

Without publicity or seeding, traffic to the viral site has averaged 35,000 to 40,000 hits per week, according to WebTrends tracking, and peaked at 80,000 visitors.

Spending on the effort comprises only about 5% of Subway's teen online media budget, but the push is a toe in the water in an area important for reaching young adults.

"Using the Internet to just be cool isn't enough. Anybody can do that," said Marie Lena Tupot, research director for brand planning think tank ScenarioDNA. "You have to do something that makes [teens] believe you are cool."

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