Speaking of Michael Strahan and Subway restaurants . . .
Last week I spoke to Tony Pace, senior vice president/global Chief Marketing Officer of Subway's Franchise Advertising Fund, about the company's use of sports figures in its commercials, specifically football figures, and even more specifically Strahan, Justin Tuck and Fox information man Jay Glazer, an old friend of both Strahan from his days covering the Giants back in the mid-1990s.
"Subway was known for a long time for being good for weight loss," he said. "We wanted to expand it out to athletes that communicate not just weight loss."
It began back in 2006, when the company decided it wanted to pair long-time pitchman Jared Fogle with an athlete and turned to Strahan.
"It was a fabulous spot," Pace said. "It was the genesis of the whole 'Famous Fans' approach."
Tuck? "We knew Michael wasn’t going to play forever, and we also knew that Justin legitimately was a fan of Subway. He was naturally a fan, and it played out almost the way we thought it would where Michael would move on from the Giants and Justin would be his successor as the defensive spokesman."
Glazer? "Jay is great in that he’s very, very energetic, and the energy comes through on film. He also is great at getting performances out of other people. Jay is so natural and energetic and disarming."
Pace said Michael Phelps is more at ease in his current ad with Glazer than he ever has seen the swimmer before.
"We love Jay. We think he can do a lot of stuff," Pace said. When Pace initially suggested Glazer, he said, "To be honest my team looked at me like I have four heads."
I asked Pace about the criticism of the somewhat heavy-handed promotion of Subway on CBS during the playoffs.
"Obviously, it's commercial television,'' he said. "It's not like we're public radio."