Mr. Sub has launched a playful new TV campaign that reminds consumers of the brand’s proud Canadian identity.
The ads star a young, quirky male wrapped in Canadiana. In one 30-second spot he’s dressed as a lumberjack, and changes into a Mounties’ uniform and a hockey jersey before being dragged away via dog sled. In the second ad, he wears a red suit and quips about the perceived politeness of the everyday Canadian.
“We wanted to highlight the personality of our Canadian company,” said Rita McParland, vice-president of marketing at Mr. Sub. “We wanted people to be able to relate to this brand.” While not all Canadians are dog sled aficionados, most would agree that poking fun at ourselves has become a pastime of its own. “Canadians are uniquely different,” said McParland. “We are very self-deprecating. We always want to cheer for the underdog. We have fun with who we are as Canadians, and we don’t apologize for being who we are.”
As a smaller company than its competitors, Mr. Sub is used to being the underdog to U.S.-based giants like Subway and Quiznos. According to McParland, this isn’t a bad thing. “We’re a much smaller player in the industry, but that just means we try harder,” she said, adding that most franchisees own and operate their own locations, a fact she called a “a strong point of difference.”
The new TV campaign was developed by Shooters International, a Toronto-based production company. “We liked their model and we liked their style,” said McParland, of Shooters. “I think they understood where we wanted to go.”
Mr. Sub’s most recent TV campaign ran in 2010 care of Metrick System. The two parted ways last year after MTY Food Group acquired Mr. Sub. In 2009, a Mr. Sub TV spot was pulled from air due to accusations that it was homophobic, leading Mr. Sub to fire its advertising agency, BOS.
The quirky new spokesperson is far less controversial and here to stay. “I think you’re going to see our main character again and again,” said McParland. “We wanted to create an identity for Mr. Sub. We wanted a character that people could relate to—someone who could represent and epitomize all things Canadian, who people could like but poke fun at, and someone who was genuine and authentic.”