The great cliche and authenticity

3 08 2006

I just read through the 37signals SVN blog about this video going around about the viral video trying to win Subway’s business to become its agency of record. Coudal Partners posts a dry, witty respond that mocks the spot (rightfully so), but also lampoons Subway right at the end.

One particular comment is regarding the cliche from what seemed to be one of the leaders that stated, “When we roll, we roll big.” OK, that’s a little cringe worthy, but I’ve been caught using the phrase “Go big or go home” far too often and, while cliched, these overused phrases still carry some important meaning and can be motivational when used properly. Possibly it’s the way that you use the phrase that allows you to pull it off – and I admit that it’s hard to use such cliches and come off well.
I also believed that the Coudal conclusion was unnecessary, which basically says Subway makes a disgusting sandwich. If the point was to just mock the spot, I personally would have just stayed with the dry tone all the way through. I thought it would have been funnier, but maybe that’s just my opinion.

The general argument with Subway is that there are better sandwiches out there. True, but I am happy there is Subway around when McDonald’s, Burger King and a restaurant with a C in the door. So does that disqualify me from representing Subway – I wouldn’t think so. Because I understand where Subway’s coming from (and I eat there more often than I care to admit), so I wouldn’t think twice about representing them. Others on the fringe may disagree and they’d be going too far.

The final point here is that even if you are cliched (throwing high fives to each other and all) and you’re not the superfan that some advocate you must be, you can still tell a great story and be a true person so long as you are authentic. Be yourself, don’t be a liar and you’ll come off with a message that everyone can accept and understand. That’s the lesson from the Subway video. They seemed completely fake and inauthentic.
So be authentic, don’t be a liar and be yourself. It shall set you free (cliche intended).




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