MARKETING | Kevin Santos, Australia

Local execution: the secret ingredient behind Subway's Live Feed campaign

The global sandwich brand lauded the Australian and New Zealand teams for their “phenomenal” numbers during the event.

Subway’s “very simple offer” of feeding the hungry around the globe started within the confines of an ad agency in Sydney.

“All the agencies we work with around the world pitched their own ideas, and Australia's agency came through with the goods,” Subway’s Senior Manager for Public Relations & Corporate Social Responsibility Ben Miles explained during the 2018 QSR Media Detpak Conference and Awards.

The idea: guests who buy one sub will get one free, while Subway will match it with a free meal to charity. This was enhanced with a live global tally where the public could track the number of meals given in real-time, using live data from point-of-sale devices at every Subway restaurant. The campaign lasted only for a day – November 3, 2017.

The result: more than 13 million free meals to people in need across 60 countries.

“We took a little known day – World Sandwich Day – and we made it our own like only Subway could,” Miles said, adding that they trialled a previous campaign on a “much smaller scale” with a “more complicated offer” but it didn’t work due to lack of team and guest engagement.

Subway made sure they didn’t repeat those mistakes.

“It set the world on fire and the digital campaign [allowed] guests [to] engage as it continued throughout the day. They could follow it on the website and we even had billboards all over the world with a live counter ticking throughout the day in Times Square, in London, across Australia - all around the world.”

The campaign resulted in huge social and media interest, reportedly outpacing anything Subway has done before.

“It was that integration of earned and paid media that really set this day alight, and the interest from all over the country [led to] hundreds and hundreds of stories.”

“Phenomenal” numbers from ANZ
Miles also said that the Australian and New Zealand teams were the “highlight” of the global campaign.

“When you consider the number of restaurants we have in the region – about 1400 in Australia [and] about 270 in New Zealand, the numbers that they contributed to the global tally were phenomenal. We saw some of the busiest days we've ever seen in ANZ with this activation.”

They represent what Subway believes to be the secret to the campaign’s success: local execution.

“We knew that if this was to work, it need[ed] to work locally in every single restaurant - that was the key. Behind the scenes we were able to create incredible momentum with our teams to engage them with this concept. It was an opportunity to get behind the brand that they love. They needed us to light the fire and then they could run with it, and we absolutely love that.”

However, it didn’t come without any challenges.

“We needed to make sure they were completely aligned and behind it and that's what made the difference. So, we transformed the way that we communicate internally through this program. Overall it was a fantastic day that we’re very proud of – delivering a great experience for our guests, but more importantly, making a real difference to those in need all over the world. We’re looking forward to seeing how we can help even more people in the future,” Miles said.

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