Pedestrians pass a Subway restaurant on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn, U.S., on Thursday, August 27, 2015.
Photograph by Michael Nagle— Bloomberg via Getty Images
By John Kell
December 28, 2015

In the world of marketing, when in doubt, companies love to go back to the beginning.

That’s the plan for Subway, which unveiled a new ad campaign for 2016 called “Founders.” It highlights details about massive restaurant chain’s co-founders Peter Buck and Fred DeLuca, who started a fresh sandwich shop in 1965 at a time when fast food and frozen dinners were becoming dominant forces in the food industry.

Subway is employing a popular marketing campaign that many brands have tried before: talk about the heritage and original purpose of the company. Often times, that message can be lost or muddled after decades of ad campaigns, gimmicks and in this case, a recent scandal. Marketers tout a back-to-basics mentality to press the reset button.

“We were fresh before it was fresh to be fresh,” the ad proclaims. That’s a bid to perhaps hitch a ride to the prevailing fresher ingredients pitch that has been made by Panera (PNRA), Chipotle (CMG), and other fast-casual chains.

The full ad can be viewed here:

The Subway campaign debuted during NFL programming this weekend, AdAge reports, and also is representative of an investment in a brand that has been hit by the twin worries of slowing sales and a PR nightmare after former pitchman Jared Fogle was ensnared in a child-sex case. Fogle was sentenced to 15 years in prison in November. Subway only got around to officially cutting ties with Fogle in August.


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