These days, many of us are used to seeing attack ads on TV. The ads are mostly coming from politicians, but if you have seen Arby’s recent campaign, it’s also from the fast food world.

Second-tier fast food chain Arby’s is taking on sandwich giant sandwich from the Subway breakfast menu – aggressively going after their “Eat Fresh” tagline. The approach? Hiring a retired NYPD detective (see above) to “[slice] up the truth about freshness.” A 30-second spot came out in early October, and a longer ad came out a couple days ago (see below).

The gist is that the detective is “investigating” where Subway slices the meat for their sandwiches. In the most effective part of the longer ad, people on the street are questioned where Subway slices their meat because there is no visible slicer in any shop. The natural assumption is that it happens somewhere in the back. I assumed the same thing. Apparently, this is not true. The meat is shipped in to the stores – pre-sliced – from some generic looking factory (one being in Iowa).

I have long been a skeptic of Subway’s meat, and this campaign aims to expose another facet of the lack of quality. However, this campaign says far more about Subway than it does about Arby’s. Yes, Arby’s slices their meat every day in-house, but I am more repelled by Subway than attracted to Arby’s. So while the campaign is interesting, (and a bit rambling), it definitely serves to damage Subway over promoting Arby’s. The key message is lost.

Do you feel differently? Did you have any idea that all Subway meat is sliced, and then shipped to the stores? Do you seriously still eat at Subway??

H/t to AdWeek for the scoop.

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9 Responses

  1. crbowers

    Why do people assume that the meat is sliced in store??? It all looks like pre-packaged lunch meat. Plus, the meat for their cold cut trio is already pre-assembled in the bin.

    I have no problem with the meat being sliced in a factory, it’s fast food we’re talking about. Plus, how often do fast food places that slice their meat in store actually clean the slicers?

    Subway is pretty good for what it is, a fast food cold sub. I really love and appreciate a good, quality sub, with excellent meats sliced in store, but I pay a lot more for those subs than I do for subway.

  2. Eick

    Having worked at a Subway for years, I will say the pre-sliced deli meat (and quality of that meat in general) is definitely a big PR issue for them in terms of the “eat fresh” concept they have. They bake the bread fresh, have fresh veggies…and then not freshly sliced meat.

    Arby’s is pretty gross though, so obviously just slicing your meat in store isn’t enough to make you appealing!

  3. Eick

    Actually, now that I think about it, after years of trying all their subs, I probably gravitated to all the non-deli meat (Meatball, Chicken Breast, BLT) ones precisely because I was unmoved by the taste, quality or freshness of any of their deli meat ones. Their ham and turkey, for instance, really are very sub-par in quality.

  4. theholt

    What?!? Subway doesn’t slice their prepackaged meat in the back of the store? WOW! My first reaction to this commercial was, “Who gives a damn!” If Arby’s wants to wage a “healthy” war on Subway for using prepackaged meats they should perhaps put away the deep fryers used to make their signature curly fries.

  5. Theoneandonlyme

    Has Subway EVER claimed to slice their meat in-store? I don’t remember them saying that in any of their ads. I go there for the fresh bread, quick healthy sandwiches, and really cheap prices. Not like Arby’s, with $7.00 sandwiches that are flat and tasteless with stale bread and smaller than Subway. Arby’s is the only place I can spend $15.00 and still be hungry. One 12 inch sub from subway will give me lunch and dinner if I make it right for around $10.00 or less.

  6. Thom

    So, does Arby’s make that god-awful looking cheese sauce “in the back”?


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