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Subway drives in-store traffic via mobile ads

Fast food giant Subway is driving consumers in-store via a new mobile advertising campaign that promotes its new line of sandwiches.

Subway’s mobile ads promote the company’s turkey melt sandwiches and encourage consumers to create their perfect sandwich. The Subway ads are running on ESPN’s mobile Web site.

“National restaurants will often roll out a specific product or feature to specific markets, making it critical that any supporting advertising campaign is targeted to the corresponding audience,” said Elena Perez, director of marketing at Medialets, New York.

“Location can be powerful for any media, but the fact that mobile allows brands to reach and influence consumers while they are on the go makes it particularly meaningful,” she said.

Ms. Perez is not affiliated with Subway. She commented based on her expertise on the subject.

Fast food
The Subway mobile banner ads read, “Try a fresh twist on turkey.” The sandwiches are being marketed to consumers as having seven grams of fat in them.

Once users tap on the ads, they are taken to Subway’s mobile Web site at

Users can also view Subway’s full menu of sandwiches and salads.

To drive consumers in-store, the mobile site has a locator feature where users can type in their ZIP code to find the nearest Subway location. Additionally, smartphone users can find a Subway store with their mobile device’s GPS.

Consumers can then see a map of their area with letters that indicate a Subway location. Users can also call stores directly and view the addresses of Subway locations.

Here is what the store locator feature looks like

Mobile sandwiches
Subway is also using the mobile add initiative to bolster its email efforts. Users can sign up via the mobile-optimized Web site to receive email messages from Subway.

This advertising campaign from Subway is the latest in the company’s mobile push.

Most recently, the company has tapped mobile payments with MasterCard’s PassPass-enabled kiosks (see story).

Additionally, Subway also uses SMS, partnerships and mobile ordering.

By using a targeted ad campaign, Subway is able to segment a large group of consumers to individual markets and stores.

According to Ms. Perez, mobile campaigns that use location can be effective, but there are several best practices brands should use.

“First, too-granular targeting can limit reach, so you need to be sensitive to the degree with which you slice your audience,” Ms. Perez said.

“Second, managing campaigns with many creative variations can add layers of operational effort, so explore opportunities to use dynamic ad creative that changes based on targeting criteria,” she said.

“And, finally, do not underestimate the value of a simple store locator feature, which allows you to deliver meaningful, brand-approved results to consumers wherever they are.”

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York