Recently, I’ve had the pleasure of working with franchise owners Cam and JoReen Brinkman and their longtime downtown store and catering manager, Sara Tiegs (aka The World’s Fastest Sandwich Artist,” winner of the annual Subjammer competition in 2017 and runner-up in 2018).
As most local residents know, a fire (ruled an arson) forced the closure of the popular downtown Pullman Subway® in May 2017. Rebuilding took more than a year to complete, but last month the new store re-opened to rave reviews. Its new “Fresh Forward” design brings numerous amenities to the location, including free Wi-Fi and charging ports for customers who want to work on the go; several computerized kiosks, which allow patrons to order and pay for their sandwiches without waiting in line; a fresh vegetable display, showcasing the very tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, and onions that are ready to be sliced for Subway® customers’ sandwiches; several seating options; ADA-compliant bathrooms; a fancy new digital menu board; the new Coca-Cola® Freestyle touchscreen mixing system for customized soft drinks; secondary and tertiary food-prep areas to accommodate large orders, catering, delivery, etc. – and a bunch of other things you’ll be hearing more about in coming months.
When Cam and I were discussing advertising for the Grand Reopening this Saturday (October 6th), one of the things he asked about was a remote broadcast from the store. Decades ago, radio remotes were a much bigger deal than they are today. Local radio personalities then were more likely to have “celebrity” status and the ability to draw a crowd of fans to a remote broadcast. Today, not so much. Social media has leveled the playing field; everyone’s a “celebrity” of some sort. So, while this won’t score any popularity points with my radio friends, I told Cam that he was better off taking the same money he’d put into a 3-hour remote and investing instead in a schedule of spots that would reach more people and air with greater frequency throughout a four-day period. I offered to record conversations with him, Jo, and Sara and extract salient soundbites for the commercials, preserving the unscripted, spontaneous “feel” of a live broadcast, but with more control over the content and its relevance to listeners/customers.
From around an hour’s worth of conversation, here are the first six commercials we created.
What makes these messages so engaging? They’re authentic and fun. Howard Luck Gossage famously observed that “a good ad is ideally like one side of an interesting conversation.” That’s what we have here: real people having an animated, unscripted conversation with us. They’re obviously excited about the new Subway® experience they’re ready to share with their customers and friends. Bonding is the new branding, and these folks are doing a great job of it!