Back in the mid-1990s, our local TV stations would broadcast a bizarre and confusing commercial advertisement for the sandwich franchise Subway – a commercial with questionable biblical and spiritual overtones. This commercial used low-quality video effects and laughable amateur actors, despite Subway being a ubiquitous national food franchise. The absurdity of this strange commercial would often be the subject of ridicule and mockery among my friends and family. Because of how weird and cheap the lost commercial was, it’s my logical deduction that it wasn’t a nationally-broadcasted commercial, but rather a local ad for an independent Subway franchise in our area (central Pennsylvania). With that said, I’ve found no record of it online, since it clearly didn’t have the national attention of regular Subway commercials.

Sadly, this unusual commercial has been lost to time, and I can find no record of it ever existing. However, with my photographic memory I’ve actually reenacted the synopsis of this commercial with the use of LEGO puppets and stop-motion animation! Check out my mini-documentary with the original commercial’s premise, followed by a stellar stop-motion LEGO puppet show. . .

This mini documentary was made by me in early 2019 using green screen, a fog machine, and awkward extreme closeups.

In that aforementioned YouTube video, you’ll see my quick documentary of the commercial’s irregular premise narrated by me, followed by the LEGO dramatization itself. You can also see the reenactment as a standalone video here.

This page contains my updates and resources of my search for the original commercial, along with any Reddit posts.

Commercial Premise:

The commercial started in a cheap mountainous scene with a black background. On the mountain was a bald middle-aged man with a mustache and Middle Eastern appearance; this man was groveling in front of an old bearded sage referred to as The Great Seer. The bald man asked the wise sage to show him the ways of truth and perfection, to which the sage told the bald man, “Perfection can be yours! Take your hunger to. . . SUBWAY SUBS!”, which made the bald man seem puzzled. Next, there was a montage of Subway sandwiches with a voiceover describing how the foods are true perfection, which showed text displayed on the screen which read “PERFECTION”, which then dissolved with a cheap animation effect. Finally the commercial ended with the bald man being excited, proclaiming, “SUBWAY!”, taking a large bite of the sandwich, and then saying, “Mmmmmmmm!”

Subway subs!!??

Subway!!!! MMMMMM!!!

“Perfection can be yours! Take your hunger to. . . SUBWAY SUBS!”

Notes:

  • The commercial contained low production qualities, suggesting that it was intended to promote local franchises and not the entire chain. It was also shot on video with amateur actors.
    • This commercial aired when I was like 11 years old, and even back then I was consciously able to realize it was poorly made on video instead of film, since I equated its shoddy acting and poor-quality to notorious low-budget local commercials or public access.
  • I remember seeing this commercial frequently whilst living in Lancaster, PA around 1995 or 1996, therefore it was most likely localized to that region: south-central Pennsylvania or possibly northern Maryland. Although after sharing this on Reddit, several users claimed to have seen this in the American Midwest and Canada.
  • The commercial started on a mountain with a bald man groveling to a wise sage who is addressed as “the Great Seer”, to whom was wearing a robe and a fake beard.
  • The bald man in the commercial was overweight, middle-aged, had a mustache or goatee, and appeared to look Mediterranean with olive skin. He also had large eyes which got big as he became excited from taking a bite of the sandwich.
    • He may have been possibly Arabic or Latino. A similar person was my maternal grandpa who was Romani Gypsy but ethnically ambiguous, so people often mistook him for a variety of miscellaneous ethnicities ranging from Mexican to Indian.
  • The commercial had many spiritual themes, such as referring to Subway subs as the path to perfection and truth.

Reddit Developments:

After I released my video documentary in early 2019, the video was shared by several people on Reddit in various subreddits. In a popular /r/mealtimevideos link, several people chimed in to claimed to have seen the original commercial in multiple U.S. states and even Canadian provinces – however some of them distinctly remember the commercial being an ad for Mr. Sub and Quiznos. After much thought and dissection, it was theorized by us that perhaps the commercial may have originated as a low-budget commercial for Mr. Sub, but was licensed by local Subway franchises for use in different regions. This could explain the absurd premise of the commercial and its questionable content compared to typical Subway commercials.

External Links:

Please share any information from this page so that we can get more attention and maybe locate the actual footage. Perhaps someone with VHS tapes of old local commercials might have this lost commercial on it. Maybe an employee of Subway might be able to dig into their company’s archives and explain the history behind this commercial. Or maybe even a cast/crew member of the commercial’s production team could stumble upon this YouTube video and shed some light on this mystery once and for all!

-Baron von Brunk