Subway "Perfection" advertisement (found locally produced commercial from sandwich franchise; mid-1990s)
Screen cap from the opening with the Bald Man grovelling in front of the Great Seer.
Date found: 28 Jan 2021
Found by: vidiot_savant
In the mid-1990s, the sandwich chain Subway used to broadcast a low-quality commercial for their subs. Unlike their usual commercials, this particular ad used amateur actors, poor production quality, and cheap effects similar to that of a local TV ad or a public access show. Based on these factors, it is believed that the commercial wasn't officially made by the main Subway corporate office for national promotions but instead was used to promote local franchises.
The commercial started in a fog-covered, empty set with a white background. On this set was a bald middle-aged man with a mustache and Middle Eastern appearance; this man was grovelling in front of an old bearded sage. 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!".
The lost commercial was brought to the attention of the internet in February 2019 by an artist named Julius von Brunk, who uses the moniker of Baron von Brunk on social media. Julius made a mini-documentary to chronicle his search for this lost commercial, and in his video, he reenacts the commercial's synopsis with the use of LEGO puppets and stop-motion animation. According to Julius, he recalls seeing this commercial frequently shown on TV in South Central Pennsylvania, to the point of it becoming a running joke among him and his friends at the time.
Julius posted his video on Reddit and immediately gained the intrigue of multiple users -- some of whom recalled seeing the commercial, but for other restaurants such as Mr. Sub and Quiznos. In Julius' documentary, he mentions that he grew up in South Central Pennsylvania in the 1990s, whereas people on Reddit claimed to have watched the commercial in Kentucky, the Midwest, and Canada. With these facts presented, it's theorized that the commercial was produced by a small advertising agency for the generic use of sandwich restaurants and that certain regional sub-chains licensed its usage. In the case of Julius' memory, the commercial must have been licensed by Subway chains on the east coast, whilst simultaneously being licensed to Mr. Sub and Quiznos restaurants in Kentucky, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Ontario.
Julius' videos were shared by other users in such subreddits as /r/askreddit, /r/lostmedia, /r/videos, and /r/mealtimevideos. Various Redditors chimed in to recall watching the original commercial itself, but no video of the commercial has surfaced.
On January 28th, 2021, Instagram user vidiot_savant uploaded the commercial on his account with the description:
"Going through some tapes I got from someone in PA and I saw this awesome super weird regional Subway commercial from the 90s.. Any of you Pennsylvanians out there remember this?🥖."
This went undiscovered until April 25th, 2021, with Baron von Brunk confirming it to be the real commercial.
Comparison Between Reenactment
According to Julius, he admittedly misremembered certain details due to his recollections being from over 20 years ago, (such as the commercial taking place on a black background with a mountain setting) but was otherwise accurate with the bald man's appearance, most of his dialogue, and his speaking voice. In the real commercial, the background was white and didn't appear to have a mountain, but included the fog effect of Julius' reenactment.
On the Hunt
- Julius von Brunk's image still for the documentary which contains a detailed description of the commercial's premise.
- Julius von Brunk's Reddit post in /r/tipofmytongue forum. Retrieved 03 Mar '19
- /r/mealtimevideos Reddit thread on the lost Subway commercial. Retrieved 03 Mar '19
- Instagram post by vidiot_savant. Retrieved 25 Apr '21
- Baron_von_Brunk tweet confirming the commercial was found. Retrieved 25 Apr '21