Celebrity endorsements are nothing new. According to the American Intellectual Property Law Association, the first instance of using fame to sell products dates back to the 1700s when chinaware company Wedgewood used a royal endorsement to sell plates. And ever since celebrity endorsements have become common, growing a brand without one is impressive (we tend to like them even when the pairings are odd). Such has been the case for Jersey Mike’s, until now. The sandwich chain is attempting to grow even larger with the help of Danny Devito.
In the past, Jersey Mike’s has leaned on its everyman appeal, focusing its advertising and marketing on endearing customers to the people who make the sandwiches and creating a personal connection with the brand. That came with a push for the company to regularly donate to local charities. The idea was to emulate the “local sub shop” feeling that Mike’s Subs, the original Jersey Mike’s location, had from the start.
“A Sub Above” has been the company’s slogan for years, with commercials and packaging sharing messages like:
A sub should be a measure of the people who made it, and the ingredients they used to make it with. Every sub should be something true. True to its deli roots, and true to its community roots too.
In a way, this first celebrity endorsement still fits that ideal. According to QSR Magazine, Danny Devito grew up down the street from the original sub shop that opened in 1956, when he was just 12 years old. Jersey Mike’s chief marketing officer Rich Hope tells Franchise Times that the sandwich chain avoided celebrity relationships in the past because of Subway’s focus on tapping professional athletes for its spots. But the perfect storm of the chain’s growing footprint and Devito’s genuine love for the sandwiches made the company switch gears.
The new spots were introduced for the 2022-2023 college football season, targeting the tailgaters among us. With the new spokesperson and a new set of commercials comes a new, added slogan: “It’s a Jersey Mike’s Thing.” As the chain expands, their new direction seems to say “if you know, you know,” and that soon even more people will be part of the special club that recognizes Jersey Mike’s as the superior sub. Here’s hoping that the rapid growth and new spotlight from a celebrity endorsement doesn’t mess with the quality of the brand, and Jersey Mike’s can continue to be “A Sub Above.”