My Beef With Subway

When you are imprecise with language in copywriting, it conveys an impression of sloppy thinking and can also undermine your credibility.

A case in point: the new commercial from Subway for their hot beef sandwich that says: “everybody wants to try Subway’s hot beef sandwich.”

The problem is that word “everybody” — which is so transparently an exaggeration that it defies believability.

Do people on low carb diets who are avoiding bread want this sandwich — which comes, of course, on bread?

What about vegetarians? Do they really want to try this new beef sub?

How about people that don’t like subs … people who don’t eat fast food … people who prefer ham or chicken to beef?

A better approach: “Beef lovers nationwide can’t wait to sink their teeth into Subway’s new Hot Beef Special Sandwich.”

This identifies the audience (meat eaters) and conveys the image of desirability and popularity while avoiding the obvious lie of “everybody.”

Share

768 thoughts on “My Beef With Subway

  • I don’t have a problem with it. Yes, it’s an obvious exaggeration, but this kind of thing has been done for so long by so many that we’re desensitized to it by now.

  • I’d like to like Subway, the healthy fast-food restaurant. However, my problem with Subway is a peculiar smell I notice after eating there. My theory is that there is an encompassing smell that attaches itself to Subway visitors. I think phenomenon may be due to their in-house yeast/bread baking process.

  • A good point made. I have some of these imprecise words on my own homepage-copy and feel uncomfortable with it. This afternoon, i will take a red pen and .. thanks Bob.

  • “Beef lovers nationwide can’t wait to sink their teeth into Subway’s new Hot Beef Special Sandwich.”

    lol. nice and snappy.

    The problem I have with the ad is with the word “hot” – are we talking temperature, “spiciness” or “sexiness”!

  • ML: “Hot” refers to temperature; the TV spot shows steam rising off the beef in a sandwich with the top half of the roll removed. Can’t remember if it’s roast beef or brisket.

  • My favorite subject! I can rant forever about things I hate about commercials – television and print. The word “virtually”. How the first commercial is repeated again just before a show restarts. Exaggeration – we have a VW commercial on the radio asking what you can do with $199. Buy a new pair of jeans or lease their car? I buy my jeans at Costco for under 20 bucks. People who write commercials think we’re dumb?

  • I believe the ad writers (and therefore the folks at Subway) are depending on ad readers’ knee-jerk (irrational) response rather than their logical examination of the words. Copywriter mavens out there selling their wares to other copywriters depend on the same response when they write about tutorials and seminars which will enable students to write “kick-butt copy.”

    Such are the perils (or profits) of our business.

    An even more notable example of Bob’s point is the classic Sarah Lee commercial years ago:

    “Nobody doesn’t like Sarah Lee.”

    I believe if you still scour the Internet, you’ll find that even the Journal of Symbolic Logic takes that one to task.

  • This is the same company that for years used a once overweight person Jared to insinuate/imply that he lost all his weight by eating at Subway. They lost me a long time ago in my mind no matter what they do for just that reason.

    Now it’s all about Eat Fresh what happened to the losing weight thing…oh because their food has just as much or more FRESH calories as the next fast food place.

    Oh Congrats Jared for having lost your Fattness for 10-years now commercial. Imply, Imply, Imply but at least Jared is getting easy money!

  • I never particularly liked Subway. Their food smells like plastic, and their ad showing a hot pastrami sandwich with cheese is well, a sin.

    That said, I like Bob’s version better.

  • I stopped at a subway one night to get sandwiches for my wife and I while traveling. They wanted $2.00 for two paper cups of water!

    A few months ago, I tried the local Subway. I could spend another dollar and get a complete meal at a buffet restaurant a couple of blocks away.

    But my beef is those who say “everybody doesn’t”, when what they really mean is “not everybody does”. Big difference. The former means the same as “nobody does”, whereas the latter means “some people don’t”.

    Communication is framing your words so it is impossible to be misunderstood.

    Clarke

  • Bob, I love your eye for detail! I don’t think I ever caught the vagueness in that ad, and obviously you have been writing direct response for a long time!

    But couldn’t Subway be creating a “bandwagon appeal”?

    I had a English teacher in high school who spent a couple weeks teaching us logic and I think I recall there was a list of appeals and bandwagon was one of them.

    So can anyone explain the difference between identifying the audience and this bandwagon appeal? (at least in ad writing)

  • I agree with your point. So many other commercials use this type of assuming language that I really don’t pay attention to it anymore. Nevertheless, it’s something that could so easily be changed (as it’s so annoying), as you suggested.

    I, on the other hand, mentioned Subway at http://www.mybeefonline.com and their ridiculous contests, where it’s probably safe that everybody will lose at winning the grand prize.

  • WOW you people are all idiots! IDIOTS! Where do you all live in the middle of nowhere. Stupid people should not have access to technology.
    Hi my name is Joe Consumer, I’m going to evaluate some food franchises. Hmmm lets see McDonalds….pooo, Burger King….pooo, Taco Bell….pooo, Jack-in-the-box….poooo, Sonic….more pooo. All sugar and salt based foods. If you’re going to analyze quick service food restaurants you need to campare them all on the same plane. Like it or not, in the same catagory Subway kills all quick service restaurants for health and fat content. Thats a fact not an opinion, if you like it or not idiots.

  • Mind blowing Gdiddy auto auction begins; largest sale tops 200,000.Some of the most rare state license plates sold in lots for five figures. A set of classic South Dakota plates sold for $26,000, while Pennsylvania plates fetched $29,900.

  • likes is incredibly uncomplicated, really don’t avoid above steps and save your Facebook Page Likes. Also check out Here you can check how to divert your Facebook Page traffic to you Web-site Connect with TricksWindow on

  • I?m impressed, I must say. Really rarely do I encounter a blog that?s both educative and entertaining, and let me tell you, you’ve gotten hit the nail on the head. Your idea is outstanding; the issue is something that not enough people are speaking intelligently about. I am very pleased that I stumbled across this in my search for something relating to this.

  • You actually make it seem so easy along with your presentation however I in finding this topic to be really something which I feel I would never understand. It seems too complex and very vast for me. I am having a look ahead to your subsequent put up, I¡¦ll attempt to get the hang of it!

  • A powerful share, I simply given this onto a colleague who was doing just a little evaluation on this. And he actually purchased me breakfast as a result of I discovered it for him.. smile. So let me reword that: Thnx for the deal with! However yeah Thnkx for spending the time to debate this, I really feel strongly about it and love studying extra on this topic. If doable, as you turn out to be experience, would you thoughts updating your weblog with extra particulars? It’s extremely useful for me. Large thumb up for this weblog put up!

  • Very efficiently written post. It will be supportive to anyone who utilizes it, as well as yours truly :). Keep up the good work i will definitely read more posts.

  • I wish to show thanks to you for rescuing me from such a circumstance. As a result of researching throughout the the net and getting techniques which were not pleasant, I figured my life was gone. Existing without the presence of approaches to the issues you have solved as a result of your website is a critical case, as well as the ones which could have badly damaged my entire career if I hadn’t discovered your web page. Your actual talents and kindness in dealing with almost everything was excellent. I’m not sure what I would have done if I had not encountered such a solution like this. It’s possible to at this time relish my future. Thanks for your time so much for the expert and sensible guide. I won’t think twice to suggest your site to any individual who would need tips on this topic.

  • Hi my friend! I desire to say that this article is awesome, wonderful published and contain approximately all essential infos. I’d like to see more threads like this.

  • I think this is one of the most vital info for me. And i’m glad reading your article. But wanna remark on few general things, The website style is great, the articles is really excellent : D. Good job, cheers

  • Hiya very cool blog!! Man .. Excellent .. Wonderful .. I’ll bookmark your site and take the feeds also¡KI’m satisfied to search out numerous useful info here in the submit, we want work out extra techniques in this regard, thanks for sharing. . . . . .

  • It is in reality a great and helpful piece of info. I’m happy that you just shared this useful information with us. Please stay us informed like this. Thanks for sharing.

  • I am really loving the theme/design of your site. Do you ever run into any internet browser compatibility problems? A number of my blog audience have complained about my website not working correctly in Explorer but looks great in Chrome. Do you have any ideas to help fix this issue?

  • There are some fascinating deadlines in this article but I don?t know if I see all of them middle to heart. There’s some validity but I will take hold opinion until I look into it further. Good article , thanks and we would like more! Added to FeedBurner as nicely

  • Hi! I know this is kinda off topic however , I’d figured I’d ask. Would you be interested in trading links or maybe guest writing a blog article or vice-versa? My site goes over a lot of the same topics as yours and I feel we could greatly benefit from each other. If you might be interested feel free to shoot me an email. I look forward to hearing from you! Excellent blog by the way!

  • There are some fascinating time limits in this article but I don?t know if I see all of them middle to heart. There’s some validity but I will take hold opinion until I look into it further. Good article , thanks and we would like more! Added to FeedBurner as well

  • A powerful share, I just given this onto a colleague who was doing a little analysis on this. And he in truth bought me breakfast as a result of I found it for him.. smile. So let me reword that: Thnx for the treat! But yeah Thnkx for spending the time to discuss this, I feel strongly about it and love reading more on this topic. If possible, as you grow to be expertise, would you mind updating your blog with more details? It is highly helpful for me. Big thumb up for this blog post!

  • I like what you guys are doing. Such clever work and reporting! Keep up the superb works guys. I’ve incorporated you guys to my blogroll. I think it will improve the value of my website. 🙂

  • What would most of us do devoid of the magnificent thoughts you share on this website? Who comes with the tolerance to deal with essential topics in the interest of common readers like me? My spouse and i and my pals are very fortunate to have your website among the ones we often visit. Hopefully you know how much we enjoy your efforts! Best wishes from us all.

  • Hello this is somewhat of off topic but I was wondering if blogs use WYSIWYG editors or if you have to manually code with HTML. I’m starting a blog soon but have no coding knowledge so I wanted to get guidance from someone with experience. Any help would be enormously appreciated!

  • Heya! I’m at work browsing your blog from my new apple iphone!
    Just wanted to say I love reading through your blog and look forward to all
    your posts! Keep up the superb work!

  • It’s actually a very valuable section of info. I am grateful that you choose to shared this convenient data here. Please continue to be us educated in this way. Appreciate revealing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *