Mediapost asks Traction about Subway

Two Subway subs in the shape of an X
Wednesday, August 2, 2023

Self-awareness is underrated.

I was asked for a comment in this MediaPost story about Subway’s “publicity stunt” … giving away free sandwiches for life to anyone who will change their first name to Subway.

In case you don’t have a Mediapost subscription, here’s what I said:

“If you want to capture people’s imagination and generate buzz… you need an idea that tells your story through a lens of culture.“

“There are good stunts and there are bad stunts. This one falls into the latter,” Traction Chief Executive Officer Adam Kleinberg, which has consulted with such brands as HelloFresh, Meta and Apple, told Marketing Daily.

“The idea has no real insight behind it, with zero cultural relevance,” Kleinberg added. “People are going to roll their eyes and ignore it because it is a joke that simply isn't funny. If you want to capture people’s imagination and generate buzz… you need an idea that tells your story through a lens of culture.

"From a branding perspective, it's also a blunder. Begging for super-fans is not a good look for a brand whose previous super-fan spokesman is rotting in prison. This is only going to remind people of that."

Teresa Buyikian, who wrote the piece, ended it by suggesting that maybe the chain would be better served changing their own first name.

You can read the full original article here.

About the author
Adam Kleinberg

Adam Kleinberg is CEO and founding partner of Traction. He has written over 75 articles in publications like to AdAge, Adweek, Fast Company, Forbes, Mashable and Digiday.

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