Subway enlists a Stanley Cup champ to push its revamp

Mark Messier breaks the fourth wall to launch three new sandwiches as the QSR continues its brand overhaul.


Subway has enlisted some all-star talent to kick off the next phase of its “Eat Fresh Refresh” campaign.

A new spot features NHL Hall-of-Famer Mark Messier breaking the fourth wall to discuss three new sandwiches, which include Green Goddess Veggie, Green Goddess Rotisserie-Style Chicken and the Stampede BBQ Grilled Chicken subs.

“Mark Messier values eating well as he understands how what he eats impacts his performance in sport because doing so allows you to perform at the top of one’s game,” says Subway Canada country director, Douglas Fry. “Subway Canada strives to provide Canadians with the best, and Messier’s understanding and alignment with the brand’s values allow him to support and convey the messages effectively.”

Fry tells strategy having a first-person creative allows a personalized and engaging experience to resonate more closely with the target audience, and that this way of engaging lets viewers get an alternate perspective on the new menu offerings – whose development involved consulting with international culinary teams, and research and trend analysis and recipe trials.

The “Eat Fresh Refresh” was marked by a menu overhaul and the biggest brand refresh in the QSR’s half-century history. It came to Canada in April after first rolling out in the U.S. back in July of 2021. 

The move was in response to the QSR’s decreasing share of the “limited service” sandwich market stateside, which previously sat at 41% in 2013 and fell to 28% in 2020. According to some analysts, the brand over-extended its reach by over-saturating the market near existing locations. 

To generate interest, Subway Canada is leveraging a strategic marketing mix to engage with Canadians, including TV creative, PR, social content, influencer partnerships, digital media and CRM newsletter distribution, as well as the QSR’s proprietary app. According to Fry, Subway Canada has started engaging with a social audience via TikTok creator partnerships and Snapchat.

Heavier investment has been made in product, training, in-restaurant support and across all marketing channels to ensure the success of Eat Fresh Refresh, he adds.

Additional ad spend supporting Eat Fresh Refresh is “resulting in noticeably more presence on all devices and media channels this summer,” Fry notes.

DentsuMB first partnered with Subway Canada in 2017 and supports the brand across all creative campaigns. The latest launch campaign (including TV creative) is supported by agency collaboration with Carat (media) and Veritas (public relations).