MILFORD, CT: Subway has selected FleishmanHillard as its US PR AOR for brand and corporate communications.
The decision came after a three-round, invitation-only RFP process that began in December 2021 and ended in March this year, when FleishmanHillard also officially started working with the brand.
Fleishman Hillard won the account over two other agencies that Subway declined to mention.
Fleishman Hillard is broadly assisting in brand comms and also from a corporate perspective, including corporate narrative and storytelling, crisis and issues management and sustainability efforts.
Lorri Christou, Subway’s VP of PR, comms and public affairs, said that FleishmanHillard is supporting Subway’s “transformation journey,” which began last year with the first phase of the Eat Fresh Refresh campaign.
Christou declined to specify the budget but said that it was “a multi-million-dollar account.”
Josh Holland, partner and SVP of brand marketing at FleishmanHillard, is leading a team of eight core staffers on the account. The team reports to Christou and works closely with Brad Simon, senior director of brand comms at Subway, and Alyssa Goldfarb, senior director of corporate comms at the company.
The incumbent on the account was Current Global.
“We are proud of our award-winning work to refresh the Subway brand and to manage high-profile corporate reputation issues like their recent tuna crisis,” said Virginia Devlin, Current Global CEO. “While we never like to see client relationships end, we wish Subway all the best.”
Subway also works with MSLGroup in the UK, Veritas Communications in Canada and Speyside in Latin America.
In May 2021, Subway restructured and expanded its communications department, adding staffers to lead four key strategic areas: corporate and employee communications, field communications, brand PR and multimedia.
On the latest episode of his show, Last Week Tonight, host John Oliver criticized the fast-food chain for a string of controversies, including the tuna lawsuit and crimes of former company spokesperson Jared Fogle. Oliver continued by criticizing Subway’s business model, arguing that the company established too many franchise locations in a small perimeter.
In a statement on Monday, Subway said that it was “disappointed” by the way it had been “inaccurately characterized” by Oliver. The statement continued, “We worked extensively to help the producers understand that we have a new leadership team and a different approach to our business than we did in the past.”
Subway’s sales were up 8.7% in December compared to the same period two years ago. Additionally, 75% of its US restaurants had a 7.5% same-store sales increase in 2021 compared to 2019.