Subway’s Marketing Towards Children

By: Brian Cummings

Throughout the history of fast food establishments such as McDonald’s, Burger King, and Wendy’s they have all believed the market of younger kids is a pivotal market to hold. Subway wants to also break into the younger market, aiming at kids between the ages of 6-18. The barrier standing in the way of Subway, is their angle, “Playtime is about to be powered by veggies”. Subway, alongside First Lady Michelle Obama, has launched a multi-million dollar campaign to increase the healthy consumption of food by younger children. Subway plans to invest $41 million dollars over the next three years in marketing towards their new plan. Chief marketing officer of Subway, Tony Pace, says the main goal of this campaign is not to just increase the consumption of veggies but “The point is trying to get kids to want to order veggies. Our meals aren’t premade, so we’re going to try to get kid consumers to ask us to pile on the cucumbers or the spinach.” This goes to show that Subway really wants their campaign to succeed and with that success, Subway wants to improve the health of the younger generation. The main forms of marketing are TV, digital marketing, in-store merchandising and digital and social media. Coming from the article, they said “Last year, Center for Science in the Public Interest conducted a study of kids meals and found that 97% of kids meals at top U.S. restaurant chains do not meet its nutritional criteria. The only chain that did? Subway.” This stat is a great stat to use when marketing towards these younger children. I’m sure if parents see that Subway offers healthier and more nutritional meals than any other fast food restaurant they’ll pick Subway more often.


23 thoughts on “Subway’s Marketing Towards Children

  1. Amanda McKenzie March 17, 2015 / 12:08 pm

    I found this article very interesting. I never really though as subway to be a healthy alternative for fast food, but i think it will be interesting to see how they follow through with this campaign. Working in a restaurant, I feel like some little kids don’t like veggies because their parents strongly encourage them to order them and don’t even give them a choice of a less healthy option. With this campaign, it could change the way kids feel about healthy food which will be better not only for subway sales, but also for future health of kids.


  2. Ryan Etter March 17, 2015 / 2:27 pm

    I do agree that other fast food chains aren’t as healthy as Subway and i like that Subway is taking initiative by focusing on improving health of younger kids. i feel that parents forcing their kids to eat their veggies has fallen off a little bit due to kids ordering whatever they want. Although this campaign will be tough to pull off changing the decision making of younger kids which is already tough as is, I believe that Subway is taking a step in the right direction by changing the dynamic of younger kids’ appetites and health.


  3. andrew gerry March 17, 2015 / 3:08 pm

    It’s nice to see that chains such as Subway are trying to partner with attempts by the government to push veggies over many other unhealthy options. I think problems could arise if this is “forced” upon children. The smarter option would be to show how great healthy foods are for them or perhaps slowly do away with unhealthy options for children. People like to make choices they feel are their own, so an attempt that includes this sort of dynamic would be beneficial.


  4. William Cavalier March 17, 2015 / 6:03 pm

    I feel like subway has always had a way of trying to be healthier and show that there line of fast food chain is the ideal fast food chain to help lose weight and get in better shape. I like that subway is taking the initiative and partnering with the U.S government to help younger generations become healthier. Subway should show the benefits of eating healthier and maintaining a healthier lifestyle and maybe parents will let there kids eat lunch at subway without having to force them to eat healthier, they will just do it on their own.


  5. Skye Stewart March 18, 2015 / 4:28 pm

    This marketing campaign is a great way to make kids eat healthier. Younger kids always think of McDonald’s and Burger King as fun places to go because their might be a playplace, they get a toy with their meals, and the bags and packaging are colorful and kid-friendly. The food at McDonald’s and Burger King is completely unhealthy compared to Subway, though. Subway could really do well at targeting to children if they brought in the right types of factors, such as toys and colorful kid-friendly packaging. Even giving a free cookie would make the kids more exciting. McDonald’s and Burger King should be seen as a once in a while thing, not a once or twice a week thing. This campaign by Subway is smart of them for that very reason. Subway can be a healthy meal everyday (depending on what you get), so they should be trying to tell everyone that, not just adults.


  6. Rosedaly Rodriguez March 18, 2015 / 4:46 pm

    I like the idea of subway marketing to younger children, to encourage healthier food consumption but, I wonder if the investment will be well worth it. subway has to keep in mind that parents have a strong influence on what their children eat and if they don’t eat healthy the child most likely wont either . It is crucial that the parents are targeted as well because children don’t really think or pay much attention to the food they eat or how healthy it is, with that said it might be a bit more difficult than it seems to actually get a child to consciously ask for vegetables in their meal especially if its rarely part of their daily diet. My recommendation for subway is to hold off the investment for a bit. Right now us millennial are known to eat healthier than our past generations. We are the future parents and will most likely teach our children to eat healthy as well. I think it’ll increase the chances of success if subway waits to market the children of us millennial


  7. Brandon Gobbi March 18, 2015 / 7:23 pm

    I agree with what Subway is trying to do here, especially with child obesity on the rise in recent years. As of late, Subway has been offering Disney themed bags filled with goods for their young customers. This seems to be their way of the “Happy Meal” at McDonalds, and will definitely push more kids to want to eat at Subway. This is great for Subway, parents and children. Subway will begin taking customers away from the fast food restaurants (McDonalds, Wendy’s, Burger Kind, etc.,) while parents and children will begin eating healthier.


  8. David Cravotta March 18, 2015 / 9:12 pm

    Targeting children to eat their veggies is a great thing, but I don’t see the investment as worth it. Ages 6-18 usually aren’t caring whether they have consumed enough vegetables, they’re worried about just eating whatever they please. Maybe if you boosted the age range to people who focus more on their health you could see an increased profit but thats still not a promise. Subway in my opinion also doesn’t create as much foot traffic from younger kids as a Burger King or Mcdonalds would so it’s a challenge. I support healthy eating and all the power to Subway if they think they’ll make a difference.


  9. John Vallerand March 19, 2015 / 4:58 pm

    I agree with what subway is trying to do to help keep the next generation of kids healthier. I believe it’s not an easy challenge to move families away from the fast food places they have been choosing over subway for years, like McDonalds, Burger King, and Wendy’s. The other problem I see is that Subway is not really directed toward “Kid Friendly”. Also the menu items at these fast food joints differ in many ways. For instance a Burger and fries is a completely different meal then a sub and chips. In the end the customer is going to eat what they desire for a meal choice.


  10. Cody J. Russell March 19, 2015 / 6:54 pm

    I completely agree with what subway is attempting to accomplish. Nowadays, It is so easy to to go to an establishment like McDonald’s and order 2 burgers, fries, and a drink totaling less than what a single subway sandwich would cost. A lot of times when we think about why people continue to go with unhealthier choices, two main reasons come to mind, price and convenience. Often times though I feel price is the “bigger blame” for why people choose unhealthier choices but as a kid constantly going from practices to games, I never had time to stop in at subway and order, receive and finish a healthy meal. I would settle for two $1 breakfast jacks from Jack in the Box and down them in about a minute each. I’m sure subway has thought about it, but in my opinion, they should really test or aim towards the convenience factor which fast food restaurants control. As sad as it is, people are plenty more lazy than we used to be in the U.S. Simply the idea of having to get out of a car on the go to get a meal when you could be sitting the whole time turns people away from making a healthier choice. Although there is no excuse for laziness, Subway needs to “get down and dirty” so to speak and go to war against fast food restaurants. If they really want to better what people eat, they need to put more than money into advertising and really show how much they are willing to do to change the social norm. We’ve been talking about it all year in marketing how people will pay/support what they believe in (such as Apple) and Subway needs to hop on that train in order to ensure that they are selling more than vegetables, but a healthier lifestyle. Lastly, if they want to target kids, they should try a kids meal maybe with a toy or something to get more kids in the door. I remember years ago I saw a McDonald’s commercial and for some reason I absolutely felt the need to bug my mom until she finally brought me there. Little marketing stunts like this could promote “Subway cares about kids” and bring in a wide variety of kids from 6-18.


  11. Brendan Sullivan March 19, 2015 / 9:14 pm

    Subway is definitely one of the healthier fast food options. They do offer healthy sandwiches and plenty of vegetables. I like how people think offering kids more vegetables will make them eat healthier. You can offer them all the vegetables in the world and most kids still won’t eat them. To this day I still don’t eat broccoli. Offering vegetables like Subway is doing is great for kids. Just because you are offering them healthier options doesn’t mean they will eat them. It is really up to the parents to make sure their kids eat right. I still recommend Subway pushes this campaign because more parents will bring their kids there if they do not have time to make dinner.


  12. Lindsey Fratus March 24, 2015 / 12:20 am

    I agree with everyone that Subway is a healthier alternative to McDonalds and other fast food joints. But I do find it a little excessive to spend $41 million on an ad campaign targeted at kids. I completely agree with the comment above. Just because you are advertising a sandwich with a bunch of veggies on it does not mean thats what the kids are going to order or want. If a child doesn’t like veggies to begin with, then I cannot see a parent going there to force them down their throat when McDonalds is across the street with the convenience of a drive-thru, is cheaper, and the parent won’t have t fight with the child about eating vegetables.


  13. Blake Boudreau March 24, 2015 / 4:49 am

    After reading this article, I found it very interesting that our first lady is promoting Subway. If the the President of the United States wife is promoting a product then who wouldn’t buy it? This is a great promoting strategy by Subway. Also, I believe that promoting to kids an early age will lead to future success in the company. This is because when a young child is exposed to ads by subway at a young age they will be more familiar with this company when their older resulting in them buying the product.


  14. Sasha Letourneau March 24, 2015 / 1:22 pm

    I think its awesome that the first lady is promoting Subway. It is a much better choice regarding “fast food” especially for children. It is so much healthier than popping in to McDonalds or Wendys. Also if someone sees something advertising over and over again, in this case veggies, then usually it is connected in the mind as the good or cool thing to do or order. Hopefully this advertisement campaign help with that view point.


  15. Kevin McAtamney March 24, 2015 / 4:38 pm

    What’s so great about this initiative is that company’s like McDonald’s and Burger King are in a panic. For years they have provided sub-par products with negative health effects and it’s starting to fire back on them. I mean, why would McDonald’s explore a waitering option at select locations? Any better ideas? Anyways, I think companies are starting to realize that the millenial generation focus on cooking and using fresh foods for themselves and ultimately their future families. They know we are going to project good eating habits onto our children so why not hope on board? You have to think, who ultimately will be the ones taking their kids to these fast food restaurants? The parents.


  16. Ryan MacLeod March 25, 2015 / 12:34 pm

    I found your blog and the article very interesting. Its refreshing to see that Subway is focused on the gearing children and their parents to make healthier choices. I am intrigued to see the ads that will be released because a large majority of parents grew up on the “fast-food” diet with McDonald’s and Burger King being the top fast food options for decades. I think its going to take a lot of time and marketing dollars to change the way kids and parents think about fast food but in the long-run it will pay off. You see a large majority of parents today choosing healthier meals to be prepared at home, purchasing groceries from natural organic markets like Whole Foods. I think Subway will see a solid ROI a few years from now. Another interesting aspect of this is how restaurants like McDonald’s will react? They do have some “healthier” options on their menu but I don’t think they can compete with Subways “fresh fast food” approach.


  17. Jackie Lurvey March 25, 2015 / 10:27 pm

    Advocating healthy eating, and through that, a healthy lifestyle is a very important message to teach the youth in America, so I think Subway’s new marketing approach is a great start to creating a healthier future. The only issue I can see is that choosing a place to eat, or even what to eat, depending on the parents and the age of the children, is not always a decision that is made by the kids. While constant nagging may work in some cases, it does not always hold up. So Subway needs to market to parents and adults as well, so that they realize all the Subway has to offer for both themselves and their children.


  18. Emma Tkachuk March 26, 2015 / 2:47 pm

    I think what Subway is trying to do with healthy eating in young children to young adults is a great thing and something that needs to be done. Today with the wide spread problem of obesity through all ages pushing healthy alternatives on kids could in turn change the way they eat as well as their parents. The only problem I see with this is that yes, you are giving kids the option of loading their subs with veggies, but that is not necessarily what they want or will choose. I know that if you ask most kids if they want cucumbers and spinach they will most likely say no unless the are accustomed to this type of eating already. I think it would be more beneficial to market towards parents and adults who will bring their kids withe them push for them to get something healthier as well, it is not really the kids decision as to where they go for a meal.


  19. Patrick Lynch April 9, 2015 / 4:30 pm

    Great article, I think it’s huge for Subway to try to make a change. Every time I walk into Subway, it is dead silent. There is never anyone ordering at Subway in my town, because they have so many competitors. I think it’s huge that they got a deal with Michelle Obama, to try to make a change to their menu for little kids. I think it is very important that they keep that stat saying they are the healthiest food chain and that they should work on it. I think they should add more choices on their menu. The last time I went into Subway, I noticed that they have only a few choices for hot subs. I think they could come up with a more variety of subs which could start helping them compete against local sub shops in their area.


  20. Keelyn Crowe April 27, 2015 / 8:53 pm

    I think this is a good idea by subway because of the spread of obesity but you also have to be realistic as well. I think subway In the first place is already better than mcdonalds, Wendy’s and Burger King so they do have that edge and I do think that advertising towards kids is a good idea because I know parents would much rather have their kids go to subway rather than gross fast food. But I don’t know if advertising veggies is going to work . No matter how much you try to make veggies look good to younger kids I just don’t know if that’s possible. Coming from me as a kid I hated vegetables and still do no matter how much advertising it wouldn’t change my mind. Although I do think subway could avert rise a lot of sandwiches with turkey and lunch meats with toys ok the side and make the sandwiches look appetizing but pushing veggies all together might push kids away,


  21. Olivia Boudreau April 28, 2015 / 2:24 am

    This is definitely a step in the right direction for fast food restaurants and for dealing with the issue of childhood obesity and obesity as a whole in America. By having the support of Michelle Obama in order to fund the marketing campaign makes me think they could actually change the way kids think of eating and what they choose to eat. The statistic about 97% of kids meals not meeting nutritional criteria is scary when you think of how many kids a day eat at places like McDonald’s/Wendy’s etc. I definitely see this campaign being successful not only for Subway as a company but for dealing with the problem of childhood obesity in this country!


  22. Briana Lynch April 28, 2015 / 3:52 am

    I think this is a really good attempt at fighting childhood obesity. Unfortunately, like Rosedaly said, kids are influenced by what their parents eat. The kids who are eating McDonalds or Burger King weekly probably do not have parents who care about being healthy. I completely agree with her that it is essential to market to the parents as well in order to get them on board with this program. It is important to stress why eating veggies is better than eating burgers for so many reasons. Also they must find a kid-friendly way to market and advertise this idea in order to make kids ask their parents to take them to Subway. Hopefully Subway succeeds in its efforts to win customers over from other fast food restaurants so that we can see a decrease in obesity and an increase in personal health.


  23. Jimmy Clark April 29, 2015 / 12:13 am

    One thing that McDonald’s has done a very good job at is marketing it’s food towards little kids, but one thing they still struggle with is consistently having healthy food. The 21st century is the age of healthy living, and parent’s have recently become more interested in putting the right food into the body of their kids. Nutrition is very important at an early age and I respect that fact that Subway is trying to promote it, and fight childhood obesity. I hope Subway is successful with this campaign, and I hope other fast food companies take note on it.


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