Jersey Mike’s Subs is introducing a new branding campaign designed to reframe the sub sandwich experience and position the 58-year old company as the one that owns this elevated, authentic position. The campaign is Jersey Mike’s first with Wisconsin-based Planet Propaganda, which anticipates that the ads will raise the perception of what a sub can be.
Premiering the tagline “A Sub Above,” the campaign mirrors the company’s new brand manifesto, created by Planet Propaganda, that starts, “Jersey Mike’s is a brand that believes: In the value of ingredients, in the virtue of intention, and in the idea that making a sub sandwich and making a difference can be one and the same.”
“Jersey Mike’s, which dates back to 1956 at the Jersey Shore, has been successful by growing organically,” says Rich Hope, Jersey Mike’s chief marketing officer. “Our strategic recipe has focused on creating the best sub sandwich in the industry, making a difference in our local communities and selecting franchisees who share our passion for both—and now, with 1,300 locations open and in development nationwide, it’s time to share our story with a wider audience.”
Two new TV spots are the centerpiece of the campaign and create a special Jersey Mike’s world, reinforcing the great care the company puts into making a sub that is delicious yet not uncomfortably fancy. One spot opens, hovering on an iconic Jersey Mike’s brown sub bag, twisted at the end to secure the sub inside, as if just prepared in one of Jersey Mike’s restaurants. The sub unwraps and emerges in an animated world, becoming at one point a submarine in the sea, which then ascends into the sky as the undercarriage of a dirigible. The question is asked, “Are you a sub…or a Sub Above?”
“Jersey Mike’s is a fundamentally optimistic brand," says John Besmer, Planet Propaganda principle and creative director. "They're the kind of people who believe there's always room for a better way. Whether it's making a better sub, or making the world a better place, they just dive in and do it. We wanted to showcase that elevated sense of responsibility, as well an elevated sense of what a sub can be."
Billboards also play an important role in the strategy. The brown Jersey Mike’s sub bag is again the star, providing a wink to those who already know what is waiting inside, and providing an anticipatory experience for those who have yet to try a Jersey Mike’s sub.
Outreach began in March with local cable and radio buys, outdoor media ads, Internet banner ads, Jersey Mike’s email club, and social media. The spots coincided with Jersey Mike’s 4th Annual March Month of Giving fundraising campaign.
“At Jersey Mike’s, we are reframing the sub sandwich experience as has been done with coffee and Mexican food,” Hope says. “Staying true to our roots is critical as we let the world know we have the best submarine sandwich on the planet.”
Jersey Mike’s has nearly doubled in size in just three years. In 2013, Jersey Mike’s reported record-breaking growth, opening 140 new locations with unit growth of 22 percent. In addition, the company reported a system-wide sales increase of 22 percent, to $406 million.
The popularity is fueled by passionate Jersey Mike’s fans who crave their subs made Mike’s Way, with onions, lettuce, and tomatoes and The Juice, a red wine vinegar and olive oil blend.