The Critical 'I'

Read. React. Repeat.

Sunday, April 04, 2004

SPONGMONKEYS GONE?
not spongeworthy
I may be jumping the gun, but from my vantage point, it appears that the buzzed-up Quiznos Spongmonkey ad campaign is no more.

I'm going strictly by my personal perceptions here. I haven't seen the Spongmonkey commercials for weeks now. I haven't shifted my television viewing patterns in that time, so it stands to reason that I should still be seeing those spots on the same channels--if they were being aired. I'm still seeing Quiznos commercials, but they're all nondescript, product-focused ads, without Spongmonkeys or any other hooks.

Could it be that the Spongmonkeys have done some damage to the brand?
"I haven't gone back to Quiznos since I saw the (TV) commercial," the energy consultant said. "Now when I think of Quiznos, I think of a rodent-infested kitchen. I'll never eat there again."...

A Quiznos franchisee, who asked for anonymity, lamented that his sales have plummeted 30 percent since the TV ads began airing in February.

"Several (franchise owners) asked them not to air the commercial, but Quiznos refused. They said the ad did well with test groups," he said. "But how can that be? It's putting me out of business. I've lost customers."
I'm thinking that, based on this noticable absence, Quiznos has pulled the offending critters, at least for a test period. If there's a measurable recovery of business from enough franchises as a result of no more Spongmonkey commercials, I'd say that would be the nail in the coffin.

In one sense, it's surprising that they'd end this campaign so soon, because the ads definitely broke through and put Quiznos on the map nationally. They also appeared to resonate with the coveted younger consumer, which is the tune Quiznos corporate is still singing. Perhaps because of that, I see that the little rodents still can be found on Quiznos site.

On the other hand, given their laughable ad campaign record to this point, it's no surprise at all that Quiznos has switched marketing gears yet again. They can't make up their own minds:
Go figure. The first time I saw the commercial with those ugly little beasts, I thought "When the hell is Quiznos going to finally break down and hire a real ad agency?" I mean, they've lurched from one dumb ad campaign to another for the past year, from a dorky pseudo-British strained humor theme, to the "Chef Jimmy Quizno" turn, to this. It all looked like they were hiring some second-tier agency that didn't know what it was doing, and I fully expected the Spongmonkeys to die as quickly as the other failed approaches.
Bottom line, Quiznos needs to find consistency in its marketing, and it needs to find an agency that will make it stick to it. All this jumping around is counterproductive.

UPDATE: Not three hours after writing this, I caught a new Spongmonkeys Quiznos ad during the Adult Swim extravaganza. They're not dead after all, although they may be restricted to obviously youth-centric programming times like this. Maybe I was subconsciously missing the little creepies.