Editor's Note: This story has been updated with comments from Sony.
Subway customers will be able to preview a hotly anticipated PlayStation game one month before its release as part of a promotional deal between the sandwich chain and Sony Computer Entertainment America.
Dubbed “Taste for Adventure,” the promotion allows each Subway customer who purchases a 30-ounce drink in a specially marked cup to obtain a code printed on the cup that lets them enter at Subway.com.
Customers will then be presented with a PlayStation Network code to download the multiplayer portion of “Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception,” a video game that will be released publicly on Nov. 1.
Subway product placement is embedded in the game, with a special “foot-long taunt” and other secret moves based on products and branding from the 34,500-unit chain.
Watch a commercial for the promotion; story continues below
“So if you see someone wearing a Subway t-shirt or a Subway sandwich wrapper [in the game], that will get you advantageous information and points,” said Tony Pace, Subway’s global chief marketing officer.
“Even though the tactic of being the first on your block is as old as the marketing hills, this is a new way to do it, and being embedded in the game makes our presence even more prominent,” he added.
Pace said the current promotion is the brand’s most involved, as it entails permanent integration of the Subway brand into the game.
Pace said the deal between Subway and Sony is mutually beneficial and was about two years in the making.
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“A very big swath of Subway’s commercial base also is who Sony’s trying to reach,” he said.
The promotion helps Sony build awareness of the game before it’s launched, while Subway gives its customers special treatment, he said.
“People are totally excited about being able to play it early,” Pace said, noting that early feedback from social media outlets has been positive.
Ginger Kraus, senior director of marketing alliances for Sony Computer Entertainment America, which owns PlayStation, said the marketing missions and audiences of Subway and PlayStation were similar, and the brands have partnered twice before.
“We’ve found that our various products and entertainment experiences dovetail nicely with various Subway initiatives, so we have aligned around passion points that support both companies’ goals,” Kraus said.
That includes both companies’ focus on health consciousness, with Subway’s Fresh Fit health messaging and the PlayStation Move gaming platform, she said.
PlayStation Move is similar to the Nintendo Wii, and requires physical activity while playing it.
Subway customers who enter the code at the chain’s website also will be entered into a sweepstakes to win “epic vacations” to locations inspired by the adventures of “Uncharted” hero Nathan Drake, including Nepal, Dubai, Costa Rica and Paris.
Additional codes on sandwich wrappers and specially marked snacks can be redeemed at Subway’s website, mobile site — subway.mobi — or by texting 87963, for a chance to win televisions or PlayStation 3 entertainment systems and games.
Video-game blogs said the early access to the game gives players a competitive advantage, as they have more time to accumulate abilities and weapons before others start to play.
Subway’s first promotion with Sony was its Fiery Footlong Frenzy in July 2010, for which customers could win the PlayStation Move game controller — similar to the Wii — as well as PlayStation game titles, before they were on sale to the general public.
In February 2011, Footlong Nation Appreciation gave Subway customers the opportunity to win game titles like “Infamous 2” before they were released.
Subway isn’t the only chain with product placement in games.
In August, Canton, Mass.-based Dunkin’ Donuts teamed up with the interactive Facebook game Sims Social, an extension of the popular Sims franchise, allowing players to give each other virtual Dunkin’ Donuts products as gifts.
Additionally, Subway has launched an Anytober promotion, during which any regular Footlong is available for $5 during October.