How Subway Should Have Responded to the 11 Inch Sub Kerfuffle
As you may have read, a Perth teenager, reportedly Matt Corby, posted a picture (which was Liked 100,000 times before disappearing) of a footlong sub with a tape measure on it showing the sub just 11 inches long. Predictably, an epic firestorm ensued on social media. And some responses by Subway don't seem quite as genuine as they should.
Subway Australia responded (post that begins with "Who LIKES the sound of free avo on their sub?!") to the swirling tempest in a teacup by saying, "With regards to the size of the bread and calling it a footlong, "SUBWAY FOOTLONG" is a registered trademark as a descriptive name for the sub sold in Subway Restaurants and not intended to be a measurement of length."
On its Facebook pages around the world, Subway is responding but many of its comments are simple deflections and reiterations of the fact the sub is simply called a footlong but that baking processes can affect actual length
In actuality, the fact the sub may be 11, 12 or 13 inches long isn't really worth discussing expect for social media trolls with way too much time on their hands. That said, social media has a way of bringing minor issues to mainstream conversation. The New York Post did some digging and found four out of the seven footlongs they purchased were shorter than 12 inches.
Of the tempest in a teacup, Landor Associates Managing Director Allen Adamson told the Huffington Post, "People look for the gap between what companies say and what they give, and when they find the gap - be it a mile or an inch - they can now raise a flag and say, `Hey look at this,' I caught you,"
In its defense, Subway responded with a statement which read:
"As you know, all of our sandwiches are made to order, and our bread is baked daily in every one of our more than 38,000 restaurants in 100 countries worldwide. We have policies and procedures in place to ensure that our products are consistent and have the same great taste no matter which Subway restaurant you visit.
We have seen the photo you referenced of a Subway sandwich that looks like it doesn't meet our standards. We always strive for our customers to have the most positive experience possible, and we believe this was an isolated case in which the bread preparation procedures were unfortunately not followed."
Minor as an inch may be, the power of social media has the ability to magnify things in a way never before possible. And minor as an inch may be, a brand has to deal with the backlash.
Had we been manning the brand, our suggestion would have been for Subway to create, bake, and personally deliver a one inch sub to Matt Corby - and every other person experiencing the deficiency in length - along with several months worth of free coupons to make up for its mistake. It would have been a simple and hilarious solution. And, it would have been chatted up on social media just as much as the debacle that started it all.