What were some brand attributes you identified that guided the process? We know the “freaky fast” reputation has stood the test of time. But was it in need of a refresh of sorts? Or how did you accentuate and amplify that?
It’s like Jimmy John’s had a glimpse into the future because they understood the role of fast and what a powerful tool and equity it would be in the category and for the business (digital delivery, etc.). But what got lost in building that reputation was the fresh and quality story.
A guiding objective of the project was a signal to quality. We weren't going to lose “freaky fast” or “freaky fresh,” but we wanted the customer to see the quality through the brand. We aimed to create something that looked as good as it tasted. We modified the red, white, and black colors ever so slightly to punch through on digital. The biggest demonstration of quality was the photography—to signal quality and fast—the question we posed to ourselves was, "how would Ferrari shoot a sandwich?"
Break down some details of the campaign, beginning with the logo. There have been 40-plus variations used since 1993. How did you bring that all together?
We uncovered 47 versions of the logo actively used in the system today, and while they were slight differences that many wouldn’t notice, it didn’t signal the confident quintessential Jimmy John’s. Sorting through that, we focused on perfecting the signatures—the JJ’s initials, the medallion, the wordmark—to simplify and make it more ownable, signature, legible.
After crafting the initials, we redrew all the typography, both in the medallion and separated from the wordmark. Jimmy John’s also had equity with the stars as a part of its visual toolkit—we lifted them to take on the typography properties. Overall, we focused on simplifying the medallion into a beautiful modern badge that the brand to leverage.
Talk about the typography. Packaging. Illustrations. Uniforms. Etc. What changed?
Typography: Jimmy John's had always been a typographically savvy and centric brand—due to its city roots—and we didn't want to walk away from that. Back to the charm of the sandwich shop—they've always had accents of illustrations and script to have some fun—but there was no definitive feel. Building on that, we redrew the icons - the signature icon that had had a hint of humor in it—was the super seal. We looked back at the super seal’s first iteration and everything in between and took the best of it to recraft with the flying sandwich, thumbs up, etc.
Uniforms: We didn’t want to change how employees might want to wear theirT-shirts as street clothes. We pushed it further and showed that the uniforms could have that Jimmy John's swagger (i.e., “Major Sandwich Flex” shirts), deliver the brand, and be something the employees can have fun wearing.
Packaging: Unlike some brands that continuously change their packaging, Jimmy John's packaging (much like their simplified and ever-present menu) is evergreen and high quality. It's simple, sharp, and unmistakably Jimmy John's. We ensured the materials, patterns, and identity were bold to evolve and dial it up.
How long, roughly, did this project take? What was the collaboration like between Jimmy John’s corporate and your team?
It took a year. The collaboration was an incredible experience for both teams. We pulled our team together based on people who loved the brand—and when Jimmy John's corporate realized how much passion we have for the brand, the relationship grew.
We helped them open their minds to what Jimmy John's could be and be brave with new opportunities. They helped us understand the heart and heritage of what was essential to make sure we didn’t lose the brand’s DNA.
Give us a sense of the final result. How would you describe the Jimmy Johns of 2021 versus 2020?
Jimmy John's of 2021 has a fresh new pair of sneakers. They launched the new look with a Super Bowl ad, and the LTO launch is a compelling reason to have a new experience with the brand. They are confident, strong, and feeling like themselves, versus 2020—a panic year for everyone. This is a Jimmy John’s who spent the time looking in the mirror to envision who they want to be, and they’re going to go get it.