Subway to ‘shout louder’ about health credentials

Subway is stepping up plans to promote healthier food options to kids and target parents online after seeing earlier efforts to position itself as a family-friendly restaurant lift sales.

Video: Subway advert for the “Muppets Most Wanted” movie.

The restaurant is using Disney’s upcoming “Muppets Most Wanted” film to pickup where its deal with the studio left off last June and expand its focus on families. Subway relaunched its healthier kids menu through last year’s “Monsters University” and says upcoming activity will target the “whole family this time”.

The campaign launches later this week (12 March) and will further extend its appeal beyond 16-35 year-olds, claims the company, with the launch of six collectable Muppets “Kids Pak” bags and three new avocado sandwiches for parents. In-store stands will let children have their picture taken as part of a Muppets poster while behind-the-scenes content is pushed to social media fans and Subcard users alongside the main TV advert.

The advert features Kermit, Miss Piggy and villain Constantine promoting its Chicken, Turkey or Veggie avocado limited edition subs as healthier alternatives. A Subway avocado sandwich also features in the movie.

Manaaz Akhtar, Subway’s regional marketing director for Europe, says its “Kids Paks” now make up two of the recommended five fruit-a-day. The number of kids’ meals at fast food restaurants has jumped 54 per cent in the last three years, according to the business, but the number of items that qualified as healthy is just 1 per cent.

Akhtar adds: “Since we relaunched our kids menu [last year] we’ve seen sales jump along with the number of people per transaction rise. Both indicate that we’re now reaching more families. We’re also talking to mums a lot more on Facebook and seeing an increase in Subcard redemptions on our family offers. Moving forward, we will look to reach more parents online.”

To support the push, the business is expanding its Family 5K events from last year’s six to 13 runs throughout 2014.

Despite its burgeoning family positioning, Subway is mindful of not alienating its core audience of 16-35 year-olds. The kids-focused campaigns will be offset by several other core Subway customers, the business adds.

Brands have been pushing healthy eating for years but Subway’s latest campaign reflects a renewed focus on the topic from the UK’s fast food industry. McDonald’s began offering free fruit in Happy Meals last week, while Burger King started selling its low fat fries nationwide.