Subway Franchisees Are In Discussions About Dropping Megan Rapinoe’s Ad Amid Olympic Controversy

Cover Video STUDIO

Megan Rapinoe helped the USA women’s soccer team win a bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics. Previously, the 36-year-old won two World Cups and an Olympic gold medal in 2012. Her success might make her seem like the perfect spokesperson for a company like the fast food chain Subway, and she is, but possibly not for long.

Subway does not actually own any of its restaurants. Instead, franchisees own all 22,000 restaurants and pay Subway 4.5% of their revenue which allows the franchisees to use the Subway name and also goes towards national advertising campaigns run by the company.

Earlier this year, long before the Olympics took place in Tokyo, Rapinoe signed with Subway as a spokesperson. You may have seen her in an ad for the company where she kicks a soccer ball at two men talking about ordering a burrito and then kicks a burrito out of another man’s hands. In both instances, she tells them to order a foot-long sub from Subway instead.

Franchisees are upset about the ad and so are their customers. It’s not what happens in the ad that they’re so upset about. They don’t like Rapinoe and what she stands for.

Rapinoe often pushes her political views. For example, she wants to end the gender pay gap and she wants equal rights. Then, at the Tokyo Olympics when her team won bronze, instead of standing for the national anthem, she took a knee.

One franchisee who owns a Subway store in Wisconsin had a customer tape a note to his restaurant’s door. The note read, “Boycott Subway until Subway fires the anti-American … Megan Rapinoe, the creep who kneels for our beloved National Anthem!”

This Wisconsin franchisee read the note at an event hosted by the North American Association of Subway Franchisees (NAASF). He was just one of many franchisees who complained about the Rapinoe ad and that it’s hurting their business. He explained, “This ad should be pulled and done with.” He added, “It gets tiring apologizing.”

Franchisees want their money to go towards ads that promote the food instead of featuring someone’s political views. A franchisee from Arizona explained, “Spending our money to make a political statement is completely and totally out of bounds.”

Executive Director Illya Berecz sent a letter to Subway franchisees stating, “Your NAASF Board has already communicated with [Subway] leadership the concerns voiced by NAASF membership.”

Watch the video below to learn more about how team USA’s women’s soccer team won bronze at the 2020 Olympics.

Do you think Subway should stop running the Rapinoe ad? Does this ad make you hesitant to eat at Subway?