I know where Quizno’s went wrong.

The news last week was that Quizno’s is going into bankruptcy and introducing new pastas.

Or are they introducing new pastas and going into bankruptcy?

Look, I only know what I read in Nation’s Restaurant News. But this article shares my opinion that one of the problems they will have to fix going forward is their advertising.

Let’s look at a recent Quizno’s ad. This is from last fall:

And then this from a couple years before that:

Now let’s quote from Chapter 7 of Selling Eating:

“A consistent brand voice becomes an asset…. Whether you agree with the legal ramifications of the Supreme Court declaring that corporations are people, there is in that legal declaration a central truth to how we interact with the things we buy. Corporations can have relationships with us, like people. Corporations can talk to us, like people. We tend to give brands “personalities” and human characteristics. Think about people who are inconsistent, whose voice, whose word choices, whose very essence seems different one time to the next. We call those people crazy-ass. We stay away, and deal with them only when necessary. Does that sound like a good brand relationship?” – Selling Eating, pages 51-52

See, Quizno’s has no idea who they are. They ran some daring ads in the early aughts, got scared when people made fun of them, survived as an alternative to Subway but suddenly became similar to lots of better-defined choices, then started babbling in many, many, many completely separate voices over the last four or five years—convincing everyone they had no idea what they were doing.

They have no idea who they are. So neither do we.

Too bad there’s no such thing as firms who can help them determine a market position then present themselves charmingly and consistently for awhile.


  1. A sandwich place adding pasta to its menu? That’s exactly what they need to sell sandwiches and lower their operating costs! Ughh.

    It’s sad; their sandwiches are pretty good–in my opinion, much better than Subway–but it’s about the last place I think of when I’m in the mood for a sandwich.

    Instead of adding menu items so different they require different ingredients and cooking methods (unless they’ve found a way to cook spaghetti and meatballs in a sandwich/pizza oven), how about take that money and use it to build a brand that lasts longer than the next 30-second TV spot we’ve all already forgotten.

    If they ever need help, I’ve got some ideas…

    1. Yeah, they have the air of a panicking drowning person, which even a strong swimmer is warned not to try and save—and yet I think all of us professional marketing types have the same reaction you just had, @aennekin:disqus, which is it to wish they’d give us the chance to come in, address some of their issues with frank competence, and try to make the public interested again in a brand that used to have a ton of fans.

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