If you were trying to sell the sub sandwich that claims to taste better than any other, would you show it on national TV being pulled out of a growling dog’s mouth, scooped together on the floor, then promptly eaten? Or would you show a professional woman pulling the remnants from a trash can and licking the wrapper?
Cliff Freeman, the advertising guru of Where’s the Beef? and Pizza Pizza fame, says that in a strange kind of way, those scenes will show that QUIZNO’S Classic Subs are irresistible and customers are passionate about them.
“It’s a bold, refreshing way to sell product,” says Freeman, who signed on recently as QUIZNO’S advertising agency. “The fact that it’s not been done before is an extremely powerful tool.”
Finally, after decades of award-winning food advertising, Freeman says he has found a product that lives up to its image. QUIZNO’S … It’s that good is the tagline of 30- and 15-second spots scheduled to run on national networks and cable channels this summer. They debuted in national network prime time placements, including in Who Wants To Be a Millionaire.
In the “Dog” commercial, after a man unwraps his QUIZNO’S Sub, his dog jumps up and steals the sandwich. A very funny tug-of-war ensues, and the man finally succeeds in pulling most of the sandwich out of the dog’s mouth. On his hands and knees, the man scoops the mutilated sandwich ingredients together and takes a big bite.
In “Trash Can,” scheduled to air later this fall, a woman in a suit carrying a briefcase is walking on a downtown street when she spies a QUIZNO’S sandwich wrapper in a trash can. As her male companion pleads with her to stop, she dives in and licks the wrapper clean.
Both spots end with a traditional hero shot — a sumptuous QUIZNO’S Sub coming through an oven, paying off the brand’s “toasted” market distinction.
The advertising is a bold move that’s paying off for the chain of 800 restaurants, which hopes to challenge the big restaurant guys with heretofore taboo treatment of food on the screen-in lieu of the big advertising bucks. So far, it seems to be working. Even TV talk host Jay Leno took notice of the “Dog” commercial in his monologue last week.
“We’ve always taken calculated risks,” says Rick Schaden, QUIZNO’S President and CEO. “That’s what got us where we are today.” Schaden, a former franchisee who bought the company in 1991, has grown QUIZNO’S from 18 restaurants to one of the fastest growing restaurant chains in America today.
Both Schaden and Freeman hope the unconventional humor plays well with QUIZNO’S customers, whom they identify as trendsetters — early adopters who don’t want to just stuff food down for lunch, but appreciate being on the leading edge.