One of Detroit's best kept secrets is no longer. The word is out on Subsonic thanks to sound strategic vision of their marketing partner, Watercooler Advertising, and their newest campaign.
The restaurant business isn't easy. Especially when the state tears up the road in front of your shop, making it near impossible for motorists to swing in for a sandwich. But Subsonic, just west of Stephenson Highway off 14 Mile in Madison Heights, is going to be okay. Thanks to the quick thinking of owner/operator, Tim Meeks and his passion for culinary excellence that pares nicely with quality creative content. Meeks hired Watercooler Advertising of Grosse Pointe to help bring some fun to the brand. The result of which is a :30 second commercial for tv and online that drives home the name Subsonic and the quality food they're outputting.
"My objective is to grow, but I'm on a limited marketing budget right now," said Meeks, a former executive chef at Benihana and at Recipes in Troy, MI. "My ad agency was willing to work with me to get my name out there and raise awareness for my brand. I don't know if it's bringing traffic in yet, but I love the work and their passion for my business."
The commercial, in which a man being booked while wearing an ironic t-shirt, drives home the idea that a delicious sub sandwich from Subsonic somehow makes even the worst situations bearable. It can be viewed online here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GGiGXCwGBI0
"The chain sandwich shops have two things going for them," said Terry Ayrault, Chief Creative at Watercooler. "Deep pockets and branding. Taste and quality are secondary considerations. But, Subsonic is just the opposite. They are small enough to care about the food and the customers they serve. Subway, Quizno's and Jimmy John's can't compete with that."
Currently, Subsonic's location has been the brand's bane since work crews started tearing up 14 Mile Rd. right in front of the store. With the construction now over, and with warmer temperatures sneaking in, the sandwich shop is starting to see more people coming in for their signature steak sandwich and their sure-to-be award-winning cole slaw.
"Now that it's over, I'm starting to see things pick up," said Meeks. "The warmer weather has brought people in too. If this is what weather can do for me, I can't wait until Spring."
8-inch sandwiches at Subsonic range in price from $5.50 to 6.95. They also offer 12-inch versions of all their sandwiches. The variety is plentiful and the fixin's, like their tangy cherry pepper sauce, are sensational. Plus, they have a great burger, salads, Chelli's Chili and even homemade milkshakes on the menu.
"It's pretty simple," said Ayrault. "Make a good sandwich and people will want to eat it. Have a clean environment and people will feel good there. Create a clear message and people will want to bond with you."
The commercial was shot by Tom Gurisko, who has teamed with Ayrault on numerous projects for many local Detroit brands. Together, the duo form the core of Watercooler. In addition to Subsonic, they're responsible for many memorable ad campaigns for companies in Detroit and beyond. Their award-winning commercial work has garnished them praise in many national advertising award shows. Likewise, it has led to creating longer form content for clients.
"The landscape has definitely changed in advertising," said Ayrault (a twenty-year ad man). "People aren't just watching tv anymore. You need to be skillful in how you approach them and in how you engage them. With smaller clients we're not trying to create shock value, we're trying to create content that gets people to like the brands we're working on. Whether it's a sub shop or a chop shop, engagement is not easy to come by."
Watercooler's work can be viewed on their website at: www.thisiswatercooler.com.
Subsonic is at 1321 14 Mile Road in Madison Heights, MI. Their online menu can be viewed at: www.eatsubsonic.com