Freshii Loves Subway

March 27, 2017 Ophelie Zalcmanis-Lai, Content Editor

If you had to pick between a meatball sub from Subway or a rice bowl at Freshii, which would you order?

If Freshii CEO Matthew Corrin gets his way, people will pick the latter.

In a bold open letter to Subway published in a full-print colour ad in the Globe and Mail on Tuesday, Freshii called for the two restaurants to work together.

“Let’s explore a partnership in which we together convert select Subway stores to Freshii restaurants in a quick, low-cost way. Let’s continue to change the way the world eats, together.”

Honestly, we’re not really sure how to view this. But that’s why this has captured our minutes this week.

This wasn’t just done through social – this all played out in paid ad space.

So yes, it’s a campaign.

Yet, there are two very different labels for this campaign. 

1.    Murky marketing

2.    Bold marketing

Where all the freshness starts to get spoiled is in the fact that Freshii could be perceived as pretty self-serving.

It literally wrote to Subway asking to close some of its locations and make them over into Freshiis. “Convert” is just a nicer way of saying that.

Freshii’s letter has its moments of being complimentary; namely when Freshii cites Subway’s founder as an inspiration and praises the sandwich chain’s global growth.

But then the letter goes on to say that Subway may have overgrown itself and that Freshii has had really strong sales lately.

Feel free to call this an over simplification of the letter on our part, but honestly, it airs of mixed intentions.

As a result, the open transparency of numbers and compliments to Subway’s founder as an innovator in healthy eating come off empty. The entire framing of the letter as being written in “love” crumbles as Freshii chooses language that rotates between making digs and patting Subway on the back.

Now on the other side of things, grabbing attention in this sort of strong way isn't necessarily a bad thing.

Very rarely are people brave enough to be this bold. And boldness is refreshing in an industry where norms, PR departments and legal can strip an idea down to its bare bones before it gets to shine.

Frankness in language can also get lost in buzzwords. When brands lose the ability to speak freely, the content begins to lack meaning and value.

Asking outright to convert storefronts is not exactly a typical industry occurrence.

Having this all unfold in a very public space is a great way for Freshii to grab audience’s eyes and minutes, communicate their values and invite others into a side of business that they aren’t always privy to.

This translates into winning moments by shedding light on how consumers’ favourite chains do business.

While Corrin says he’s confident that Subway will respond and enter into discussions about this all, we’ve all got to wait and see what happens.

Innovative business move led by values or foul business play to strike out competitors?

Let the battle begin.

At the end of the day, people engage with content by lending their minutes. Content is successful when its battery is fully charged with attention.

What will win this week?

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