Monday
Jul192010

Blimpie Goes Running Back To Catch Up To Subway For 'Lighter Stuff' Debut

July 10, 2010: Subway has relied heavily on sports figures to tout its foot-long sub sandwiches and low-fat "healthy options"  menu, including Michael Phelps, Michael Strahan, CC Sabathia, Laila Ali, Blake Griffin and Nastia Liukin.

Rival Blimpie is just now introducing what it calls "The Lighter Stuff," a six-item menu line "encouraging healthy, active lifestyles."  To get the word out to consumers, the Scottsdale, Az.-based chain has called upon Chris "Beanie" Wells, now in his second season with the NFL's Arizona Cardinals, to appear in national marketing.

Wells, a running back who rushed for nearly 800 yards during his rookie season in 2009, will appear in marketing and act as a spokesman, ala Subway's Jared Fogle and that chain's roster of athletes. Blimpie has very infrequently used athletes as spokespersons but did star Nascar driver Jeff Gordon in Blimpie marketing in 2005.

“Being a professional athlete, nutritious, wholesome meals are an important part of my daily routine,” Wells said in a statement. “Now with The Lighter Stuff menu, Blimpie has made it even easier and tastier for me to stay on point with my health and fitness goals."

Blimpie is even mimicking the popular Subway "five-dollar foot-long" concept, offering "Lighter Stuff"  foot-long subs for $5 or a $5 combo deal (6" sub, chips, 22 oz. drink).

The"Lighter Stuff" menu includes a Deli Trio Sub (330 calories for a 6-inch sandwich), Asian Teriyaki Chicken Sub (370 calories), Veggie Salad Sub (270 calories), Turkey and Sweet & Spicy Mustard Sub (340 calories) and Ham and Pepper Relish Sub (330 calories). All have less than six grams of fat, according to Blimpie.

"I love all the options from The Lighter Stuff menu, but my favorite sub is the Deli Trio," said Wells.

According to Nola Krieg, R&D chef for Blimpie. “It’s becoming increasingly important for restaurants to offer healthier menu options, but never at the expense of taste. I order my subs with extra pickles. It adds taste without adding any significant fat and calories."

The campaign also includes a social media aspect with destinations on Facebook and Twitter.

Blimpie is a division of Kahala, which owns about a dozen quick-service restaurant brands worldwide, including Cold Stone Creamery, Taco Time and Ranch 1.

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