With over 40,000 locations in more than 100 countries, you’d be hard pressed to find someone who hasn’t heard of this famous submarine sandwich brand. Loved the world over for its unlimited creativity in making the perfect sub, Subway turned to TikTok to raise widespread awareness for its new "Subway Bite," unleashing the creativity of the TikTok community to create a highly engaging launch.
To get the message out, Subway ran a Branded Hashtag Challenge – an ad format that combines colourful user engagement and explosive exposure. The creative concept was called the Subway #bitemechallenge, inviting users to film themselves with a Subway Bite and get crazier with their creativity after every single bite. Each video was set to a bespoke soundtrack by artist Kilo Kish.
Branded Hashtag Challenges revolve around a dedicated "challenge page," which gathers all entries into one place and includes a description and external link. The hashtag also appears in TikTok’s trending hashtag list, making the challenge highly discoverable. Subway drove users to the challenge page with two additional ad formats, which are bought in a bundle with the Hashtag Challenge: TopView Lite (taking over the whole screen upon app opening) and a One Day Max In-Feed Ad (guaranteeing a short, sharp burst of high exposure).
Subway then launched a second TopView Lite ad and Brand Premium In-Feed Ad – which is guaranteed to display among the first ads a user sees in the For You feed. Both ads linked to its website and store locator, and ran during the Branded Hashtag Challenge campaign to bolster awareness.
The creative idea really sparked intrigue and fun within the TikTok community, inviting users to express their creativity in weird and wonderful ways. The wackier, the better. The TikTok community responded in droves, with entries ranging from eating a Subway Bite in the bath to rapidly changing outfits, wigs and make-up.
The campaign smashed its benchmarks, drawing in more than 312 million video views and 167,000 entries. Millions of TikTok users enjoyed the challenge so much, it also amassed an impressive 14.55% engagement rate. The additional ads that ran alongside the challenge drove an extra 28 million impressions, turbo-boosting the campaign’s exposure and landing the message in front of millions of Subway fans. That’s bite-sized creativity at its best.