Maybe you remember the original Jared Fogel ad from Subway. This spot didn’t win any major awards. And you probably aspire to much more creative work. But the fact that you remember Jared shows that the campaign (now, almost a decade old) was crazy successful. And there are several important lessons from the Jared campaign that are worth noting:
- Subway’s marketing director wasn’t impressed with Jared’s story. He thought fast foods couldn’t do healthy. He wanted to do a campaign based on taste.
- The health campaign Subway did want to run was called “7 Under 6,” which talked about the seven sandwiches they had that were under 6 grams of fat. (No matter what you think of Jared, you’ve got to admit he’s more interesting than “7 Under 6.”)
- The Jared spot made Subway’s lawyers very nervous. They were afraid it would appear like a medical claim. In their lawyer wisdom, they advised against running it.
- Even though the national Subway office vetoed the Jared campaign, some franchisees showed some interest in running it using regional ad money.
- With no national funding to cover production, Hal Riney’s president, Barry Krause decided to make the spots for free. Production would come out of the agency’s pocket.
- The original spot ran on January 1, 2000.
- Within three days, Hal Riney had received calls from USA Today, ABC, Fox News and Oprah.
- A few days later, Subway’s national office called, asking if the ads could be aired nationally.
- That year, sales jumped 18%, plus another 16% after that.
- The campaign sold a ton of sandwiches. Jared’s since become part of pop culture (He’s been featured on South Park, no less.) Arguably, this story has made Subway the brand it is today.
So what does this mean for you? I’m not saying the Jared spot is worthy of a One Show Gold. But it shows that even wildly successful campaigns meet opposition. Don’t let the road blocks rile you. Don’t hate the client or the account team or creative director or partner who says “no.” One “no” doesn’t always mean the work is dead if you’re willing to fight for the work you believe in.
(The details of the Subway story can be found in the book Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath.)