Subway celebrates the freedom of choice

The QSR's first Dentsu-led campaign aims to make customization a bigger point of differentiation.


Subway has unveiled the first creative work to come out of its partnership with the Dentsu Aegis network of agencies.

The QSR launched its integrated “Make It What You Want” campaign on Feb. 28. The effort seeks to amplify Subway’s brand proposition of customization and choice.

The campaign’s 60-second anthem spot debuted in English on Sportsnet’s Wednesday Night Hockey broadcast yesterday. A French version of the ad will debut on TVA on March 3, during a Montreal Canadiens hockey game against the Boston Bruins.

The spot features a combination of live action and user-generated content, presented as a series of vignettes with people engaged in a range of activities. Footage of Subway sandwiches are peppered throughout, along with messages like “Make it big,” “Make it epic” and “Make it count.”

The campaign also includes social and digital spots, with tweaks being made to the creative to ensure relevancy on those channels. There are also shorter 10- and 15-second vignettes among the campaign assets.

The creative approach was driven by consumer research and data, says Cristina Wells, senior marketing director for Subway Canada, an approach it had mandated to its agency partners. From the very beginning of the partnership, she says, the emphasis has been on “consumer-driven insights.”

Subway has been looking for a point of differentiation from other QSRs, and its research clearly showed that the “facilitation of choices and customization” was key to the brand, especially from a millennial and Gen Z point of view, Wells says. The new creative direction was a natural fit for how the sandwich chain has always operated.

“It’s built on that parallel between life and food and that ability to customize within your life and making life what you want,” she says.

Late last year, Subway selected Dentsu Aegis Network to lead creative and media in a North America-wide assignment, following an agency review in July 2017. The move consolidated the brand’s roster of agencies, with a new team consisting of talent from DentsuBos and Carat in Toronto and Montreal, and Mcgarrybowen and Carat in New York.