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Can Subway’s 2016 rebrand boost sales after hitting a 50-year low?

After the debacle created by Subway spokesman, Jared Fogle’s arrest, the restaurant contemplates a rebranding campaign to boost sales, but will it help?



Subway might need a life line soon

Ubiquitous deli chain, Subway, commemorated its 50 year anniversary last Friday. Amidst the celebrations are plans to revamp and rebrand, all in an effort to recover slumping sales. The store has not had a major rebrand in seven years, and intends to take a “multifaceted” approach to improving their delis and boosting sales.

The last time the Milford, Connecticut based chain launched a major marketing campaign, they focused on offering a healthier alternative to the greasy, deep-fried fare of most fast food chains. This health-focused image was majorly boosted by Jared Fogle, their poster child of 15 years, who famously lost 200 pounds by eating Subway sandwiches daily.

Fogle’s recent arrest on charges of child pornography and prostitution is not to blame, but certainly didn’t help Subway’s already declining sales. According to one of Subway’s development agents, “we’ve been up 1 to 2 percent in the couple of weeks,” but “we are behind where we were two years ago.”

Execs have resigned, sales have been slumping

Subway doesn’t publicly disclose its financial reports, but insider sources say that the company’s sales have plateaeud after several years of loss. Two prominent executives, marketing chief Tony Pace and vice president of media services and digital marketing Karie Ford have both resigned. Subway has signed up to work with a different ad agency, BBDO.

Another agent from Subway, who wished to remain anonymous, complains that the company’s marketing schemes had become stagnant, and were overly focused on price rather than innovative new menu items. During the 2008 recession the five-dollar foot-long made a big splash, but the deli will need to come up with something new and exciting to boost sales.

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Other experts say that Subway is being outcompeted by other fast but healthy chains like Chipotle and Firehouse Subs.

What can they do to innovate?

The multi-faceted rebrand will likely involve redesigning the stores’ layouts and employees’ uniforms, increasing staff training, introducing new menu items like thicker cut meats and vegan patties, and installing digital signs. Subway is also currently seeking sources for chicken, ham, and turkey that are raised without antibiotics.

Only time will tell if these changes will be enough to lift Subway from its lowest slump in its fifty year history.


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Ellen Vessels, a Staff Writer at The American Genius, is respected for their wide range of work, with a focus on generational marketing and business trends. Ellen is also a performance artist when not writing, and has a passion for sustainability, social justice, and the arts.



  1. Karen Jones

    September 2, 2015 at 1:30 pm

    plataeud ? 🙂


  2. Cheryl Johnson

    September 3, 2015 at 4:30 pm

    I don’t get how they could be doing so badly, every time I go in there for lunch there is a line out the door. Sounds like it may not be a problem with branding or sales but maybe costs vs profits.

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