Subway Defies Odds, Becomes Positive Brand Trend
On Monday — the same day that Americans learned processed meat may cause cancer — Subway earned a top Google Trends spot for its news that the chain will phase out antibiotics in meat. Even on Twitter, the brand earned praise from consumers who paid far less attention to this from CNN: “Former Subway pitchman Jared Fogle pays $1 million to victims.”
This antibiotic-free positive brand trend comes in an era when marketing mistakes make for cringeworthy headlines. Brands caught up in the marketing snafus include the Patriots, Urban Outfitters and U.S. Airways (now American Airlines). Asked to tell Target Marketing the strategy behind the positive marketing, Subway didn’t immediately return a request for comment on Monday.
“Beginning in March 2016, Subway customers across the U.S. will able to order meals made with chicken raised without antibiotics,” reads Subway’s Oct. 20 press release about the change (opens as a PDF). “Turkey raised without antibiotics will be introduced in 2016, with a completed transition expected within two to three years, and pork and beef raised without antibiotics will follow within six years after that.”
Subway tweeted out a similar sentiment on that same day, but consumers continued to comment about the subject on Monday and share links to news articles about the announcement. Sentiment against the move says farmers should be able to treat sick animals with antibiotics.
— Josh Soodsma (@jsoods320) October 26, 2015
“Today’s consumer is ever more mindful of what they are eating, and we’ve been making changes to address what they are looking for,” said Dennis Clabby, EVP of Subway’s Independent Purchasing Cooperative (IPC), in the Subway announcement. “A change like this will take some time, particularly since the supply of beef raised without antibiotics in the U.S. Is extremely limited and cattle take significantly longer to raise. But we are working diligently with our suppliers to make it happen.
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