Subway's latest ad campaign seems to be backfiring, as customers are put off by its undisguised attack on McDonald's.
Fast food commercials have taken on a strangely competitive, smarmy tone in recent years, and in many cases people have eaten up the drama. However, something about subway's new bash against McDonald's -- and burgers in general -- did not sit right with the franchise's customers.
"Shading [McDonald's]? I didn't even know [Subway] still existed," one fan tweeted. "Mama must've failed to teach you to stay quiet when grown folks are talking. #StayInYourLane."
Subway has run a few ads now suggesting that subs and sandwiches are more exciting and more customizable than the standard burgers available a McDonalds. The idea seems sound, considering Subway's colorful spread of add-ons to choose from. The company's new catch phrase, "make it what you want," even seems well-conceived on the surface. However, viewers have one resounding answer as to what they really want: burgers.
I've decided that the new @SUBWAY commercial with the McDonald's heart monitor was made to make me hate sandwiches. Soooo annoying.— Matt DeBray (@MattDeBray) September 20, 2018
"I've decided that the new [SUBWAY] commercial with the McDonald's heart monitor was made to make me hate sandwiches," someone wrote. "Soooo annoying."
"That new [SUBWAY] commercial just makes me crave [McDonald's]," chimed in another.
One person even advised subway to "fire your marketing team," while others vowed to eat McDonald's the very next day out of spite. Subway's Twitter account took all the outrage in stride, replying to some customers and asking for forgiveness.
"Sorry Matt, please love sandwiches again," read one tweet.
Sorry Matt, please love sandwiches again— SUBWAY® (@SUBWAY) September 20, 2018
The bar for fast food marketing has been raised significantly, particularly as platforms like Twitter have become ubiquitous. Nowadays, it is basically expected that all the major chains will have an account, and post in a snide, personified voice where they talk down to their competition. Some are better at this than others — Wendy's has become a beloved staple on Twitter to many, as its social media team tends to land clever, well-placed jabs against its opponents.
Other restaurants have not been so lucky with the strategy. After the initial shock of seeing a company make a joke wore off, many people began to role their eyes at the corporately sponsored posts. Just this week, an awkward exchange between Digiorno and Dunkin — formerly Dunkin Donuts — had people doing the online equivalent of a cringe. The companies exchanged emoji greetings before DiGiorno tried for a joke on Dunkin's re-branding.
Did we just become best friends? pic.twitter.com/XVuzwDFdWc— DiGiorno (@DiGiorno) September 26, 2018
"You can call us DiGiorni'," the company wrote.
"Then call us DunkinO'," the coffee giant replied.