When it comes to quick-serve brand impressions and considerations, consumers are more likely to be persuaded by the every day people in Subways television ads, who ask for such things as an extra large jelly belly or a can-my-butt-look-any- bigger- meal, rather than the Oreo cookie mustache-donning duo from Dominos or the tree-kicking, red wig-wearing protagonist from Wendys, according to a new study conducted by Boston, Massachusettsbased Communications & Brand Analytics (CBA), a Phoenix Marketing International firm
CBA used brand-leading indicators, advertising performance, and reports on consumer perceptions and visitation behavior to determine its findings. Based on those parameters, Subways advertising earned the highest marks in a syndicated category audit of 20 top quick-serve brands.
According to the audit, 26 percent of the more than 1,000 respondents identified Subway as their favorite quick-serve brand. Wendys came in second with 21 percent, and McDonald was third at 17 percent. Fourth and fifth places went to Quiznos with 15 percent and Burger King with 12 percent.
What seems to be driving the market are messages around not only value for the money, but healthy alternatives to traditional quick-serve food, says Jeniefer Lessard, CBAs vice president. Plus, the Subway ads were humorous. We found that nine of the top 10 quick-service ads focus on healthier and value meals and that humor is a major driver of ad response.
The survey platform, CBAs AdPi Audit, provided evaluations of present CBA quick-serve client ads running in the market. The quick-serve restaurant industry, Lessard says, is the latest to use the firms proprietary approach, which involves online data collection and customized predictive modeling and reporting.
The bulk of quick-serve media dollars are in television advertising, she adds. Our subscribers use this information to track brand health and during the creative process with ad agencies. These AdPi Audits enable our clients to make strategic decisions and get the most for their marketing dollars.
Lessard declined to provide names of CBA clients and would not reveal what she called the proprietary methods of AdPi Audits.
She did, however, explain that respondents had to have visited a quick-serve at least twice in the last 30 days and be 18 to 64 years old. While twice in a month was the minimum, more than a third of respondents reported visiting quick-serves three to four times a week, with male and female respondents showing equal attendance.
Each respondent viewed four television ads and were then asked three questions:
- Was the ad informative?
- Was this the first time viewing the ad?
- Did the ad make the viewer more likely to recommend or visit the featured quick-serve?
Along with the Subway ads, a CiCis Pizza ad featuring its pasta, pizza, salad and dessert for under $5, as well as spots from Dairy Queen and Papa Johns, were identified in the audit as great response drivers. Among the poorest performing ads were Burger Kings Italian Chicken Sandwich, featuring a shot of the product with Italian music, the Domino's Oreo mustache, and the Wendys red wig campaigns.
According to the survey findings, 58 percent of respondents said Subway had the most positive brand impression, while a close second was Wendys with 50 percent. Rounding out the top 10 quick-serves in terms of positive brand impression were KFC (42 percent), Pizza Hut (41 percent), Arbys and Quiznos (40 percent), McDonalds (39 percent), Burger King and Chick-fil-A (35 percent), and Taco Bell (34 percent).
Fifty-five (55) percent of respondents gave Subway the No. 1 spot when it came to brand consideration. McDonalds and Wendys tied for second with 50 percent, followed by KFC, Sonic, and a four-way tie between Arbys, Burger King, Chick-fil-A, and Quiznos for fifth place with 39 percent.
While Wendys is second behind Subway, its last campaign with the red wig didnt do much for the quick-serve at all, Lessard says. They were really weird spots. The wig on the guy may have been a little creepy. Even Wendys said the campaign didnt do too much, and they have since switched ad agencies and to an animated little red-haired girl.
Officials from Dominos, Subway, and Wendys did not immediately return calls placed by QSR.
While Subways recent ads might have proved successful, its ace in the hole is Jared Fogle, who is celebrating his tenth year as the sub sommelier. Moreover, that message of health and value has proved profitable for Subway to the tune of more than $8.2 billion in sales.