Cousins Subs Gets ‘Bold’ in New Campaign

CHICAGO Cousins Subs is hoping that using humor to dare consumers into taking ‘bold’ initiatives with their sandwich selections will help the regional chain punch through the popular sub-sandwich category.

The campaign’s first 30-second TV spot breaks today and continues the tagline, “Better bread. Better subs.” The new theme is “A little bold,” said Larry Weissman, client vp of marketing. The effort will run through Thanksgiving in Cousins Subs’ markets in the Midwest and Southwest.

The work is the second campaign from food-marketing agency Noble & Associates’ Chicago office and Noble BBDS’s Milwaukee office since they won the account following a review in June. The first effort was a summer campaign, which showed grills getting the summer off because consumers were rushing to Cousins Subs.

The new campaign, which also includes radio and in-store promotional materials, incorporates humor by showing how Cousins Subs offers “bold” sandwich options and encourages customers to be daring and go to the restaurants. In the spot, a man is seen ripping the “Do Not Remove” tag off a mattress and then stepping on grass that has a sign warning to keep off the grass.

“We wanted to create spark and draw people in,” Weissman said. “It’s more than just product shots,” he said.

The Menomonee Falls, Wis., chain is in a very competitive category dominated by Subway Restaurants, according to Dennis Lombardi, evp, restaurant consultant with Technomic, a Chicago-based food-service consultancy.

Limited-service restaurants’ systemwide sales have grown by 3.4 percent since last year, said Lombardi. Cousins Subs’ systemwide sales grew 2 percent to $72 million.

“By marketing unique types of combos and high-quality product, it helps push through the clutter,” Lombardi said.

Spending on the campaign was not disclosed. Cousins Subs spent $1 million on ads last year, according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR.