Stomach Virus Jason 02 Aug 2006

60 comments Latest by Bryan C

Agency.com makes a lame “viral” pitch to Subway for their account. Coudal says, hell no, we want the business!

60 comments so far (Jump to latest)

Bird 02 Aug 06

Good grief. I couldn’t watch Agency.com’s pitch beyond the opening phone call and the “in the corner office, now.” stuff. Tried, but couldn’t. I was rolling on the floor watching Jim’s lampoon, even before the punchline became obvious. Perfect. Now, there’s real creative thinking. Coudos!

Don Schenck 02 Aug 06

Coudal’s was perfect! My kind of people!

I bet they like exclamation points as much as I do! Really!

The Colonel 02 Aug 06

Frigging brilliant. And hilarious.

Coudal’s right… Subway is pretty terrible.
They get my vote.

Agency are douche bags.

CoryS 02 Aug 06

Boy, they say that the account usually knows what their decision is before walking in the room for the pitch…

Paul 02 Aug 06

[this is good]

Rahsun McAfee 02 Aug 06

Wow, that was awesome. Nice Coudal, very nice.

beto 02 Aug 06

Your veredict is mine. Coudal wins, hands down. And in much less time.

For the record, Subway restaurants are actually very good on my little corner of the world. I’ve heard nothing but horror stories from friends trying to replicate the experience in the U.S.

shane 02 Aug 06

Jim, you’re my hero!

Bird 02 Aug 06

Right, beto. Subway on the Hutchinson River Parkway southbound just before the Whitestone Bridge, Bronx, NY, makes a “better than commercially acceptible” sandwich. Pretty good, anyway, for QSR. Meanwhile, the Subway right in town within walking distance is inedible. So, there’s too much room for error in the system somewhere.

Phil 02 Aug 06

It’s too bad you even linked to the Agency.com video, I can’t believe they expected that stupid thing to be viral. I’m shocked and amazed that it’s gotten as many views as it has, I was bored to death and stopped watching half way (I kept hoping it would get better). Keep it short people (like Coudal’s). No one wants to watch a 10 minute “bit”.

Mark 02 Aug 06

“…No one wants to watch a 10 minute “bit”…

Well, except for Subway. In the beginning of the tape they mention the client wants a 5 minute video about the agency.

SU 02 Aug 06

I cannot get over how many individual human beings were involved in creating this Agency.com wankery.

Agency.com: Eat Time™

Rob Poitas 02 Aug 06

Werd to the Coudal folk!
I watched the agency video earlier today and it sucked and seemed so fake.
Last time I ate at Subway was 6 years ago.

Noah 02 Aug 06

I kinda like Subway’s sandwiches personaly…

Is agency.com serious? Like actualy serious? It doesn’t seem like it to me.

schlarb 02 Aug 06

neither was any good. agency’s video was vapid and coudal’s wasn’t all that funny. it was the higher quality of the two however.

Des Traynor 02 Aug 06

I agree with schlarb, a friend just sent me the two links accompanied with a “This is really funny, check it out”. The 9 minute video bored the tits off me, and Jim Coudal talking to a camera making subtle jokes wasn’t really much better.


But Subway sandwiches are nice.

bleh 02 Aug 06

WHEN WE ROLL, WE ROLL BIG

WUT U GNO BOUT MAXIMIZING ROI AND SYNERGISTIC BRAND ENHANCEMENT, SON

Ryan Allen 02 Aug 06

That’s really funny! Coudal have balls. I loved his intonation when he said “gone out to get Sandwiches, these uh subway Sandwiches”…

George 02 Aug 06

The thing I don’t get about the agency.com video is that they talk about how for things to be viral they should be funny and entertaining, then they produce something with neither of those qualities? If they wanted to advertise their incompetence in that regard, I couldn’t have thought of a better medium.

soxiam 02 Aug 06

The agency.com’s video sealed what I’ve been preaching to my friends all along. It is perfectly justifiable to determine whether you will apply for a job at a company solely based on the number of people there with faux-hawks, morrisey-burns, and any other expressive means of facial hair.

Keith 02 Aug 06

I find this whole business a bit distastefull. Agency.com’s vid was pretty silly (although I admit I didn’t watch it for more than a minute or two all told) and Coudal’s was just kind of…I don’t know. Rude? Seemingly pointless?

(Although, maybe I didn’t get it…seemed as though the Agency.com thing didn’t really need to be made fun of. Kind of like picking on a fat kid.)

I definitely didn’t think either was all that funny. Ah, well, at least Coudal’s was short.

Dale Cruse 02 Aug 06

Agency.com came off as uber-cool, self-important “immersive” douche-bags.

kangarool 02 Aug 06

There’s no doubt that agency.com’s pitch video is a snoozer and deadly cliche-ridden. Were I Subway marketing manager, I’d start looking for the next respondent’s submission immediately.

BUT… it’s easy to criticise, much harder to do heaps better. What if you ran an agency… got a pitch invitation from Subway … and had two and a bit days to respond? with a 5 minute video? that convinced the potential client (a successful global company that would certainly have a massive advertising budget that you were after) to at least invite you in for an introduction? While I agree it’s “lame” in the context of just sitting around watching it on YouTube, isn’t it probable that agency.com’s business prospects hinged very much on well they did the video? And by “how well” I refer to the perspective of Subway Marketing managers’, not yours. Shouldn’t “lame video” or “great video” or any other comments be given in the context of intended viewer, not in the safe vacuum? What if agency gets the account? How “lame” would it be then?

Having said that, and as i wrote above, I would expect there were much better submissions tendered.

totally irrelevant that Subway sandwiches “suck” or taste great, if you’re going after their business.

also totally irrelevant to compare the merits of two videos to one another, given the completely different context of each; one was a pitch submission, the other was essentially a self-promo video. I reckon both did a so-so job at their respective, very different objectives. While Coudal’s gave me a smile as someone just looking at SVN, in a different context — i.e., Subway Marketing Mgr. — I wouldn’t entrust them with a global brand.

JF 02 Aug 06

totally irrelevant that Subway sandwiches “suck” or taste great, if you’re going after their business.

Totally irrelevant if you don’t have to believe in the product you’re trying to convince other people to buy. But pitches by people like that aren’t very convincing. You see them every day.

If you want to be a company that hocks products you hate, go for it, but it’s path towards frustration, mediocrity, and empty satisfaction.

If I was a company looking to hire an ad agency I’d definitely like to know how they feel about my product. If they don’t like it, that’s cool with me — better for me and better for them. No one has to work with something they don’t like.

The best ads come from people who believe in what they’re selling. So I’d call it quite relevant.

kangarool 02 Aug 06

JF said “Totally irrelevant if you don’t have to believe in the product you’re trying to convince other people to buy”

Fair point to a degree; I agree with you in principle, but not necessarily always in practice. If you work in advertising, it comes with the territory.

In a purely hypothetical, but still easily possible scenario, say Agency.com’s business success or failure hinges on this pitch — paying employees, keeping the doors open, etc — or even more likely, Subway could represent a huge influx of revenue to allow your agency the luxury of going after products you REALLY love — but you don’t much care for the sandwiches all that much — what do you do. Turn down the invitation to sumbit a pitch? Being 100% honest with myself, I am certain I would respond. I’m not saying you would, but I would.

I would also have to seriously question your assertion “The best ads come from people who believe in what they’re selling.” Aside from the logistic near-impossibility of knowing the preferences and tastes and beliefs of all the people who create the “best” ads, even if you did somehow know all that, I still think you’d find heaps of great ads done by people who might not think the product is particularly spectacular. It’s not a requisite to do great work. All respect, but it seems quite naively idealistic to think that.

Anonymous Coward 02 Aug 06

I did find Agency.com’s spot a complete snoozer and fake-fest (couldn’t finish it - no wonder Coudal suggested you watch as much as you can) and Coudal’s is pretty funny in a dry sort of way.

I didn’t really understand the necessity of the conclusion of the Coudal spot though. I find that’s always the argument with Subway - that there are much better sandwiches out there. Very true but when I have to choose between McDonald’s and Subway, I’m always glad the Subway is there. But not that arguing the merits of a mass-produced sandwich is really the point anyway.

So what was the point of the Coudal spot? I would think just to mock the agency process, which is definitely fair enough.

Given that, I would like to be Subway’s agency of record (pretending I were an agency). But since my stance is that there are much better sandwiches out there, am being too disingenuous if I tried to win their business? I think that would be going a little too far…

Rodger 02 Aug 06

I did find Agency.com’s spot a complete snoozer and fake-fest (couldn’t finish it - no wonder Coudal suggested you watch as much as you can) and Coudal’s is pretty funny in a dry sort of way.

I didn’t really understand the necessity of the conclusion of the Coudal spot though. I find that’s always the argument with Subway - that there are much better sandwiches out there. Very true but when I have to choose between McDonald’s and Subway, I’m always glad the Subway is there. But not that arguing the merits of a mass-produced sandwich is really the point anyway.

So what was the point of the Coudal spot? I would think just to mock the agency process, which is definitely fair enough.

Given that, I would like to be Subway’s agency of record (pretending I were an agency). But since my stance is that there are much better sandwiches out there, am being too disingenuous if I tried to win their business? I think that would be going a little too far…

Mark 02 Aug 06

“…The best ads come from people who believe in what they’re selling…”

Yeh, sometimes. It’s not the key issue though. The bigger issue, in my experience, is that the marketing team (or person) “clicks” with the marketers team.

I’ve worked with companies where I really liked the product, and thought it was high quality. But then when it came to hashing out ideas with their people — everything fell flat, because there was no personality alignment whatsoever.

Other cases, the product was “meh”, but the people representing it were fun, dynamic and excited about our ideas.

So, while belief in the product is vitally important (on both sides of the marketing table), getting along with the folks you have to deal with ranks up there too.

Mark 02 Aug 06

BTW: I think my last point is proven in that no one is really focusing on the technical quality of the Agency video, only how annoying the characters are.

JF 02 Aug 06

Fair point to a degree; I agree with you in principle, but not necessarily always in practice. If you work in advertising, it comes with the territory.

Nothing is *always* but your principle can be your reality if you set yourself up to succeed in that way. You make your own world. It can be done. I know plenty of people who do it. We did it for 5 years. It can be done, but it can’t be done if you fall back on the “that would be nice but it’s not something we can do because…”

Don’t take this the wrong way: Quit making excuses for the things you don’t have and the things you can’t do “just because that’s the way it is.” The way it is is the way you let it be.

There are plenty of great ad agencies and great design firms that started out doing work for clients they believed in and never looked back. There’s no reason you can’t be just like them — or even better.

Don’t sell yourself short. You deserve great clients with great products that you believe in. You’ll be much happier, far more motivated to do great work, and you’ll continue to get better and better client who see that passion in you.

It works if you believe it can work.

Anonymous Coward 02 Aug 06

Coudal is having fun. Can’t you see that? Don’t over analyze. Having fun and enjoying yourself is a good thing and Coudal is great at that. And seeing that they’ve been in business for a good long time should demonstrate that it’s possible to enjoy the work you do, enjoy the clients you have, and have a laugh once in awhile. Go Coudal!

Viral video 02 Aug 06

Gee, look, it’s viral after all. Maybe agency was right?

Rabbit 03 Aug 06

Don’t sell yourself short. You deserve great clients with great products that you believe in. You’ll be much happier, far more motivated to do great work, and you’ll continue to get better and better client who see that passion in you.

I love you JF!

(That doesn’t count as creepy, does it? :)

Samo 03 Aug 06

“Gee, look, it’s viral after all. Maybe agency was right?”

Uhm, there’s good viral and there’s bad viral. And there’s viral that makes your whole company look like a bunch of incompetent idiots. That’s what I shall call agency-com-viral as of this day.

Lisa 03 Aug 06

I almost fell out of my chair when Jim delivered the punch line. SO. FUNNY!

JF, this is so true:
Don’t take this the wrong way: Quit making excuses for the things you don’t have and the things you can’t do “just because that’s the way it is.” The way it is is the way you let it be.

I have a coffee cup that says “Life isn’t about finding yourself, its about CREATING yourself”. I love this cup. On tough days I sip out of this cup for hours to remind myself.

Ryan Allen 03 Aug 06

I have to add, I’m sure Agency.com know that Subway are sub-par. Just as Coudal know that Subway are sub-par. Coudal’s video states that they don’t work like that and their hilarious response will attract (I imagine) companies that offer quality products, not some sub-par fast food masquerading as a healthy choice.

Subway know for sure that their product is sub-par. Agency.com know that they’re sub-par. Agency.com are willing to play the game and get paid for it.

And millions of people may well believe it. :)

(and how funny is Coudal how they take this piss out of Agency with ‘there were people sitting on benches and lying on tables’… Agency.com pretending they’re all spontaneous and ad-hoc. Well, maybe they are…)

Anonymous Coward 03 Aug 06

Yeah, I guess no one really knows what it’s like at Agency. Maybe they do sit on the tables? I know a couple of people that do that. But they were just trying to get some work. It might be lame to the cool tech kids, but *someone* needs to be the AOR for Subway. Everyone wants to advertise, even the companies with a “sub-par product”, so someone needs to do their ads. You can’t always work for companies that you believe in. Not realistic. Then there would be no one willing to do work for half the nation. Ideal? Yes. Realistic? No.

Really? 03 Aug 06

JF or Coudal, are you telling me if Subway called and said “here’s two million bucks, give us a funny viral ad campaign” you wouldn’t do it because you don’t like their sandwiches? I thought Coudal was just mocking agency.com, but JF seems to be indicating the point was to only work for who you like.

I'm With Stupid 03 Aug 06

“You can’t always work for companies that you believe in. Not realistic. Then there would be no one willing to do work for half the nation. Ideal? Yes. Realistic? No.”

Add “Welcome to Big Box Mart” to the end of the above quote and you’ve got yourself either:

A) The new employee welcome speech at any number of crappy, mass market oriented companies.

B) The start of JibJab’s next piece.

C) A good line for a poster from Despair.com .

D) A very disheartening end to a parent-child ‘What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up’ discussion.

I'm With Stupid 03 Aug 06

“I thought Coudal was just mocking agency.com, but JF seems to be indicating the point was to only work for who you like.”

I took Coudal saying that the Subway sandwich tasted “like BLEEEEEP”, the bread was “sawdust”, etc, kind of mocked Subway, too, but that’s just me.

crashbanger13 03 Aug 06

normaly I don’t post crap on youtube but these guys deserve it!

mine is really funny! will subway hire me?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cE0SsmAWI5k

enjoy!

Andy 03 Aug 06


Really? 03 Aug 06

JF or Coudal, are you telling me if Subway called and said “here’s two million bucks, give us a funny viral ad campaign” you wouldn’t do it because you don’t like their sandwiches? I thought Coudal was just mocking agency.com, but JF seems to be indicating the point was to only work for who you like.

Do you do crap work you don’t believe in just for the money? We’ve all done it. We all know it’s an easy road to a miserable job.

Looking for good work you believe in doesn’t have to be a luxury. It’s a decision that you can work towards.

Often, what you turn down defines you as much as what you take on.

JF 03 Aug 06

Yes, if Subway called and offered us $2 million we would not take the job. Why? Because, as Andy said above, it’s an easy road to being miserable. I don’t have the time or the energy to be miserable and working for a client I don’t believe in makes me miserable.

If you take one miserable job for money then you’re going to take the next one and the next one. 1, 5, 10, 20 years of misery for money is not worth it to me.

It’s your life you have to live. Next to sleep, work is the thing you do most. If you don’t like your work you pretty much don’t like your life and that’s not worth any amount of money to me.

coudal 03 Aug 06

After our video, I’m pretty sure Subway won’t be calling.

At the risk of explaining the obvious, our video is not about the quality of the subs. It’s just a fun little statement about the fact that in offices and studios all over the world people are pretending to be passionate about products and services that they don’t really care about.

One way to deal with this disingenuousness is to smother it with the buzzwords and lingo of the moment and to turn the whole discussion inward and make it all about the process and not about communication at all.

And BTW, the subs from Bari down the street from here are the real deal. Ask Jason. I realize that it’s not really fair to compare Subway’s food to them. But who said life was fair?

Ben 03 Aug 06

Jason, I couldn’t agree more with you on this one. As Bob Dylan said: “A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and goes to bed at night and in between does what he wants to do.”

Steph Mineart 03 Aug 06

The medium isn’t the interesting thing, the message is. It’s not cool that it’s “viral” — it will be viral if it’s cool.

And I agree that you have to like the product you’re advertising — if you don’t like it, how do you pick out the “it” factor in the thing that makes it interesting, both to you, and to the people who might want to buy it?

Edgardo 03 Aug 06

I think a big issue here is if Subway asked for or is evaluating doing something viral in their campaign. Something viral is worth spreading and sharing and I cannot think of something that meets that criteria within Subway.

I don’t even think that Subway should be looking for viral or ‘cool’. Their location strategy and healthy positioning seems to be working. At least in Puerto Rico I can find a Subway everywere. If they want something worth spreading why not invest on second, more cool, hip brand with incredible sandwiches?

Want something viral… a video of a bulemic Jared eating three foot-long meatball sandwiches and puking afterwards would be pretty viral.

Alex Bunardzic 03 Aug 06

Jason wrote:

The way it is is the way you let it be.

Jason, I’m starting to suspect that you might be some kind of a genius!

Alex

Alex Bunardzic 03 Aug 06

Coudal wrote:

It’s just a fun little statement about the fact that in offices and studios all over the world people are pretending to be passionate about products and services that they don’t really care about.

And even more importantly than that, it illustrates quite nicely how people in corporations are forced to pretend to be competent. It is painfully obvious from the original Agency video that all these guys (all those ‘Senior Art Directors’ etc.) are stupendously incompetent at their jobs, and are stirring the dust and tossing out grandiose claims (a la “we’re the pros!”).

That, more than anything, will turn your life into a miserable pile of human feces.

Christopher Fahey 03 Aug 06

Jim: Brilliant. Here at Behavior we had plotted our own parody “response” as well: A behind-the-scenes video reinactment of what actually happened in our own office when we watched the Agency.com video: loud and riotous ridicule — followed by incredulous shock that such an industry-leading web design and branding firm would be so soulless and clueless. We also felt pretty bad for those poor Agency.com employees who were probably forced to participate in this lame-brained scheme.

We even thought we’d couch our video as an alternative pitch to Subway. Congrats, you beat us to it.

Mark 03 Aug 06

“…there’s good viral and there’s bad viral…”

And then there’s posts like this, where Subway is mentioned (prior to this post) 41 times across 49 posts.

Is that good or bad viral?

Edgardo 03 Aug 06

Mark,

I think is bad viral for Agency.com. From now own they will be know as ‘the guys that did the lame video for Subway”.

Mark 03 Aug 06

You know what though Edgardo? As long as Agency (assuming they get the gig) pulls through for Subway, no one is going to care.

Also, think about this, as far as bad viral for Agency.com. There are other firms competing for this gig — can you name even one of them?

Given that, yes it’s a corny video, and it’s annoying as hell and too long — but you and most everyone else on the web, and most likely the mucky-mucks at Subway have now associated Agency.com with Subway.

Anyway, if you look at Subway’s current properties on the web, it looks like this will be a marriage made in Heaven.

kev 03 Aug 06

Am I the only one noticing who are clearly employees for Agency.com searching the web and responding to the responses? I’ve seen clear examples of this both here and on YouTube. It’s clear because no one else on the planet who’s of any use could see this video as a good idea.

Ed 03 Aug 06

“People were sitting on the table; people were sitting on the counters…”

That is priceless copy.

Don Schenck 04 Aug 06

I’m getting hungry.

For corn fritters.

Made by my wife.

Gordon Montgomery 04 Aug 06

Something to think about!

Maybe this is NOT about Subway at all!

Fast forward the Agnecy video to 3:25 and look at the BOX the sandwiches are in. It’s a Frit-o-Lay box (I think). Subliminal advertising at its best!??

….left hand do this, right hand do that - sleight of hand?

…ok just kidding…but…. ;)

Charlie 04 Aug 06

Nice catch Gordon… it’s actually the first virus targeted to advertising and marketing professionals… The Competitive Intelligence Trojan!!!
It doesn’t do anything but report back to Agency.com who you are pitching and how much you are charging so they can maximize their rates. It has an optional module to steal creative ideas, but they are clearly not using it yet.

They planned this with Coudal, because controversy breeds exposure… They get the work Agency doesn’t want.

8-)
I crack myself up!
Charle

Bryan C 11 Aug 06

When did people start thinking you have to be “passionate” about every routine thing? It’s a freakin’ ad campaign for sandwiches, not a honeymoon on the French Riviera. Even if they were really, really good sandwiches it’s not worth invoking “passion”. It just devalues the whole concept. Be competent. Be interesting. Be engaging and honest and memorable. Cut the forced emotion and save the “passion” for things that need it.

Post a comment

(Basic HTML is allowed)

NOTE: We'd rather not moderate, but off-topic, blatantly inflammatory, or otherwise inappropriate or vapid comments may be removed. Repeat offenders will be banned from commenting. Let's add value. Thank you.