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Inside Subway’s Celebrity Endorsement Deals: Subway Enlists Tom Brady And How Much Do They Pay?

Celebrity endorsements are powerful. Before looking at Subway’s deals, we must understand why companies like Subway invest so much in them. Celebrity endorsements are a proven marketing tactic that can help brands:

Key Points

  • Subway has a long history of using celebrity endorsements to promote its brand and menu items.
  • Celebrities’ endorsements help brands in many ways. They increase awareness and credibility. They help brands reach new audiences and stand out from competitors. They also drive sales.
  • The amount paid for a celebrity endorsement depends on factors. These factors include the celebrity’s fame. Also, the scope of the campaign, how well the brand fits, deal exclusivity, and the deliverables.
  • Notable Subway celebrity endorsers include Michael Phelps and Apolo Ohno. Also, Jared Fogle endorsed the chain before his scandal. Other endorsers include Stephen Curry, Serena Williams, and Tom Brady.
  • Estimated celebrity endorsement payouts:
    • A-list athletes like Tom Brady, Stephen Curry, and Serena Williams: $5-10 million annually
    • “Eat Fresh Refresh” campaign in 2021: $15-25 million total for celebrity talent fees
    • Jared Fogle: $1-2 million per year at his peak
    • Olympic partnerships like Michael Phelps and Apolo Ohno: $500,000 – $1 million annually
    • B-tier athletes and up-and-coming stars: $100,000 – $500,000 annually
  • Subway invests a lot in celebrity endorsements. They do this to stay competitive in the fast-food industry and keep their brand known.
  • Exact figures are not disclosed. But, estimates suggest Subway spends tens of millions yearly on celebrity talent fees.
  • The possible return on investment is in brand affinity and getting customers. This makes celebrity endorsements a worthy Subway marketing strategy.

When a celebrity endorses a product, they lend their fame and reputation to the brand. Those who admire or identify with that celebrity are more likely to remember and view the brand positively. A 2019 study by Spotted found that 64% of marketers used celebrity endorsements, which they said helped drive sales.

Several vital factors impact celebrity endorsement deals. The amount Subway pays for a celebrity endorsement depends on them.

Subway restaurant's celebrity-endorsed signboard mounted on a building's exterior wall.
  1. The celebrity’s level of fame and influence. A-list celebrities with massive followings command higher fees than lesser-known personalities.
  2. The scope and length of the campaign. A multi-year, global campaign will cost much more than a one-off social media post.
  3. The celebrity’s relevance and fit with the brand. A celebrity fits well with Subway’s target audience and brand. That may be worth a higher investment.
  4. The exclusivity of the deal. A celebrity agreeing to work only with Subway and not endorse other brands will raise their value.
  5. The specific deliverables. Fees will vary by the celebrity’s expected work. This includes commercials, photoshoots, event appearances, and social media posts.

Subway’s Famous Celebrity Endorsers:

Subway has partnered with many celebrities. They come from entertainment and sports. Some of the most prominent include:

  • Michael Phelps signed a long-term deal with Subway in 2008. He appeared in many commercials touting Subway as his choice for training fuel.
  • Apolo Ohno won gold in speed skating. He was another Olympic face of Subway and appeared in their ads in the 2010s.
  • Jared Fogle was Subway’s unlikely everyman spokesperson. This was before his scandal and arrest. He did this for over 15 years. His “Subway Diet” story of significant weight loss eating the chain’s sandwiches made him a brand icon.
  • Stephen Curry is an NBA superstar. He signed a multi-year deal with Subway in 2021. He has appeared in many ads for the brand’s “Eat Fresh Refresh” menu change.
  • Serena Williams is a tennis legend. She became a Subway ambassador in 2021. She stars in ads promoting Subway’s healthy menu.
  • Tom Brady is an NFL icon. He started working with Subway in 2021. He appeared in commercials for the “Eat Fresh Refresh” relaunch, featuring Curry and Williams.

Celebrities who have worked with Subway in various roles include Ryan Howard, Russell Westbrook, Nastia Liukin, Pelé, and Megan Rapinoe.

Tom Brady is sitting in the subway with a sandwich and smiling at the camera as part of a subway's celebrity endorsement.

Subway’s Celebrity Endorsement Payouts

Estimating Subway’s Celebrity Endorsement Payouts is challenging. The specific terms of Subway’s celebrity deals are usually not disclosed. But, we can make educated guesses based on available data and typical industry rates.

  • The best endorsements come from A-list athletes, including Tom.  Brady, Stephen Curry, and Serena Williams. These fees are $5-10 million, based on their immense star power and the scope of their Subway campaigns.
  • The ad campaign, “Eat Fresh Refresh,” was launched in 2021 and starred Brady, Curry, Williams, and others. Celebrity branding authority Spotted estimated that the combined talent fees were $15-25 million.
  • Jared Fogle used to be Subway’s spokesperson. Over their 15+-year partnership, they reportedly paid him $15 million, an average of about $1 million annually. His annual fees likely rose with his fame. At his peak, some estimate his pay reached $2 million annually.
  • Olympians like Michael Phelps and Apolo Ohno likely received annual endorsements worth $500,000 to $1 million. After his record-setting 2008 Olympics, Phelps earned $5 million per year from endorsements. He got them from deals with Subway, Visa, Omega, and others.
  • Depending on their fame and social media reach, b-tier athletes and up-and-coming stars could earn $100,000 to $500,000 a year from Subway.
Two people exchange sandwiches at a Subway's celebrity endorsement event while others applaud.

The estimates give a rough idea of Subway’s budget. They are for its most valuable celebrity endorsers. The fast food giant sees the investment as worthwhile. It will reduce noise in a competitive quick-service restaurant industry. It will keep its brand top-of-mind with consumers.

Conclusion

Celebrities have been vital to Subway’s marketing. Subway aligns its brand with the credibility and appeal of top athletes. They are also actors and other stars. It aims to boost its image and attract customers to “Eat Fresh.” But, these high-profile partnerships are costly.

Subway likely spends tens of millions on celebrity talent fees each year. However, the brand affinity and customer acquisition payoff makes it worth it. The formula works. Expect to see more famous faces promoting your favorite Subway sandwich.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is based on estimates and publicly available data. The exact terms and financial details of Subway’s celebrity endorsement deals are not officially disclosed. The figures mentioned are educated guesses and should not be considered definitive. This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute professional advice.

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