Super Bowl

Subway Buys Last-Minute Super Bowl Ad for Fritos Chicken Enchilada

Sandwich Chain Only Fast-Food Company Buying In-Game Nationally

By Published on .

Advertising Age Player

Subway has made a last-minute play and is running a 30-second spot in the Super Bowl.

As late as Friday the chain said it wasn't buying an ad during the game, but it has changed its mind at the 11th hour with a buy for a spot, aptly dubbed "Crunch Time," promoting its newest product, the Fritos Chicken Enchilada.

The move isn't actually that much of a surprise, as it made a similar last-minute move in last year's Super Bowl. CMO Tony Pace said that the chain had no plans to buy into the game until Friday evening. "There were a lot of folks that for whatever reason were backing out, so it's something we decided to take advantage of," said Mr. Pace.

He declined to comment on whether the spot was bought at a big discount, saying only that the move was a good valuation for the chain.

Last year Subway had two spots: one celebrating spokesman Jared Fogle's 15th year anniversary and the other for its well-known $5 Footlong promotion. Mr. Fogle isn't in this year's spot, although "Famous Fans" like Michael Phelps make an appearance.

The spot in the game this year is already on air -- it began running Thursday night. Mr. Pace said that the beginning of the month is typically the new product and promotion window, so it made sense to promote the new product to a wide audience, even if that ad is already out there.

Subway's other Super Bowl promotions include its sponsorship of the ESPN Green Room, which the chain is sponsoring for the third year in a row. It's also been a longtime sponsor of ESPN Radio, but has been doing additional promotion in the lead-up to the Super Bowl.

Subway, the second largest fast-food advertiser in the U.S. after McDonald's, also appears to be taking a page from Taco Bell's playbook by teaming up with PepsiCo and incorporating Fritos. Taco Bell's wildly successful Doritos Locos Taco was a product developed with Frito-Lay; it's also offered the Beefy Crunch Burrito, which has Fritos.

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