Subway dumps its Sub Club stamp-collection promotional vehicle

Subway Ends Free-Sandwich Promotion: “The Subway restaurant chain is ending its decades-old free sandwich promotion, company officials said Thursday, amid concerns that counterfeiters were creating and selling copies of the restaurant’s proof-of-purchase stamps and cards. Under the Sub Club promotion, which had run in some form since the 1980s, customers received a stamp for every six-inch sandwich they bought. A full card of eight stamps could be redeemed for a free sandwich.”

So, AP reporter Matt Apuzzo writes that Subway, the franchisee-operated sandwich chain owned by New York-based Doctor’s Associates, Inc., has decided to phase out its Sub Club promotional campaign whereby sandwich buyers who purchase a six-inch sub get one stamp, or two stamps for a foot-long sub, are rewarded with a free six-inch sub for every eight stamps collected. It’s a smart move because I find it increasingly difficult to get the stamps to stick on the cards with which store personnel provide you and it’s very easy to lose a stamp, forcing you to wait even longer before “cashing in” on a free sub.

The report goes on to say that that, “the promotion will be phased out companywide by Oct. 1.” Company spokesperson Kevin Kane was quoted as saying, “… the company had been considering whether the promotion was outdated for some time.”

I’m encouraged that Subway, where I occasionally order a foot-long veggie sub sans any cheese, is considering a new promotional vehicle to replace the decades-old Sub Club departing October 1st, 2005. People who know me will know I’ve always said a free, plastic Subway membership card with the person’s name, membership number, and date of membership on the front, with a “swipeable” magnetic strip on the back, would be a much more effective way of offering free subs. The customer would scan their card upon purchase of a sub, receive one credit for a six-inch sub and then for every six or eight credits, the customer is automatically given a free six-inch sub. This would also serve as a very valuable, and not to mention profitable, marketing tool as Subway would have the address, phone number, and potentially e-mail address of its massive clientele. It could then bring in partners to its Subway membership program and charge other retailers a flat-fee or fee-plus-commission for the right to entice people to buy at their stores and earn Subway credits faster. This is similar to Alliance Data Systems subsidiary The Loyalty Group‘s AIR MILES program or ACE Aviation Holdings’ Aeroplan, which reportedly pulled in more than $20 million in net income on several hundred million in revenue last year.

So, here’s to hoping that’s what Subway executives decide to do.