How Subway Canada Is Building Back Consumer Trust

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Subway It aimed to position itself as a healthier alternative in the fast-food landscape of greasy burgers and sugary sodas by offering sandwich options with freshly baked bread and vegetables; Its slogan since 2000 has been “Eat Fresh”. But over the past decade, Subway – especially in the US – has experienced its fair share of bad press, including allegations about everything from the quality of its ingredients to its disgraced spokesman, Jared Fogle. , These incidents threatened to tarnish Subway’s cross-border image as a healthy dining destination.

In 2014, sales began to decline due to competition from other chains offering healthier items, and a year later, Subway parted ways with Fogle—who lost over 90 kilograms by eating Subway and exercising. Lose more weight—when he pleaded guilty to having sex with a minor and distributing child pornography. In 2016, Subway began closing locations; Between 2018 and 2019, it closed over 2,000 storefronts in the US

And there was another issue: Questions arose about the quality of Subway’s chicken after a 2017 CBC investigation claimed that the meat was actually only 50 percent chicken and the rest was soy. Subway said the claims were “absolutely false” and sued the CBC for defamation.

According to Lisa Mazurkewicz, head of marketing for Subway Canada, the company wanted to make some changes. “There were some trust issues,” Mazurkiewicz says, explaining that “misinformation and unreliable studies” call into question the integrity of Subway’s ingredients. “We took it as an organization to refresh, looking at a lot of things, from the quality of our content to our customer service.”

In October 2021, Subway Canada launched focus groups to find out what consumers thought of the brand. They found that while customers still had a lot of warmth and nostalgia for the chain, it was time for a new campaign to generate some excitement and highlight the quality of its offerings.

So, in early 2022, Subway Canada launches its “Eat Fresh Refresh” campaign. It introduced new brand ambassadors, revised menu items, such as rice bowls, and upgraded ingredients, Canadian cheddar cheese and smoked avocado. For spokespeople, Subway selected a diverse group of athletes from across the country, including tennis star Leyla Fernandez, NHL player Mark Messier, and Olympic sprinter Andre de Grasse.

“We were looking for partners who epitomized a healthy, balanced lifestyle,” says Mazurkevich. All spokesmen are in their 20s except Messier, who is 62, as the brand intended. Target a Young Canadian Audience,

As part of the campaign, Subway is aiming to drive its messaging toward Gen Z through Instagram, Twitch and experiential pop-ups to emphasize the quality of its new products. It is also using advertisements and in-store menu boards. “We’re using as many proprietary platforms as possible to build that trust back,” Mazurkewicz says, pointing to a 2022 ad with Messier.

In the 30-second spot, Messier, positioned in front of a refrigerator filled with colorful vegetables in a clean restaurant, says “fresh,” “fresh” and “fresh” a total of seven times. Subway worked with four agencies—including advertising firm DentsuMB and Veritas Communications for social media and PR—to ensure that the ad brought the idea of ​​freshness. Mazurkewich says the campaign has been successful, both in terms of sales and customer feedback.

For companies that experience similar damage to their public image, Mazurkewich recommends that they invest in consumer research to better understand customers and their needs. Once they identify areas for improvement, they can make changes. Then they can use the right medium—which may include brand ambassadors—to connect with their target demographic. “We tapped Canada’s top athletes, who helped us authentically tell our story,” says Mazurkiewicz. “Their love for the brand helped us connect with consumers.”

This article appears in print in the Winter 2023 issue of Canadian business magazine. buy issue for $7.99 Or better yet, subscribe to the quarterly print magazine for only $40,

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