In the Battle of the Sandwich, will Social Media Win?

Subway, Jimmy John’s and Erbert and Gerbert’s Subs and Clubs. Three companies with three degrees of national recognition and three very different marketing approaches to selling pretty similar turkey sandwiches.

Everyone is familiar with Jared, the Subway guy, and his sub diet, thanks to a marketing campaign that has stormed the airwaves for the past few years, most recently including a NFL star athlete fueled by the same ham and turkey combo that Jared chooses. But not every sandwich shop has the advertising budget for national 30-second prime time spots, with celebrities in tow.

Jimmy Johns takes a guerrilla marketing approach, stopping by our office at 3:30 on Thursday afternoon to ask us whether we want a veggie, turkey or ham sample sized sub right as the mid-afternoon dreariness sets in. Easily the most craving inducing campaign as of yet, but does it really seem economical?

Lastly, Erbert and Gerbert’s Subs and Clubs, an emerging sub shop in the Midwest who has turned to social media. One hundred and fifty T-shirts, one admirable iron, 9 hours of standing and one male model produced a YouTube video that is sure to put them on the map. An obsession with flipbooks, the abundant availability of humans and a story of a boy’s hunt for a sandwich is the concept of this viral marketing campaign that a friend recently sent me. Since when does an advertisement for a sandwich get passed around? Since social media came to town.

Again, an instance of Web 2.0 hoisting the little man and his product up above those national brands that we are so tired of watching (sorry, Jared) and those two professional sandwich makers going door to door of office buildings. Instead it is passed around from inbox to inbox with no added charge. What does the little sandwich shop around the corner have to lose?Social media is not only about saving money; there are some pretty high-end videos being passed around out there. More importantly, Ebert and Gerbert have broken through mass media into a realm of effectiveness that only the consumer can decide. Would you rather spend 30 seconds of your day with Jared or a little boy that travels in and out of a t-shirt looking for a sandwich? Social media just might make this franchise spread like a wildfire, or more appropriately, spread like mayonnaise.

Click here to see how the commercial was made.

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