German Subway restaurants pull controversial promotion
August 9, 2004
ARLINGTON, Va. — Subway franchise holders in Germany have killed a promotional tie-in to the documentary “Super Size Me” after conservative interest groups in the United States accused the campaign of fomenting “anti- American” sentiments.
Conservative groups, led by the Washington-based National Legal and Policy Center, began an Internet and letter-writing campaign late last week aimed at top Pentagon and Congressional leaders to protest tray liners that appeared in German Subway restaurants to promote the July 15 German premiere of the documentary “Super Size Me.”
In the film, which bills itself as “an irreverent look at obesity in America and one of its sources — fast food corporations,” independent filmmaker Morgan Spurlock gains 24 pounds after 30 days eating nothing but McDonald’s fast food, three times a day.
In July, the German distributor of “Super Size Me,” Prokino Filmverleih, reached an agreement with approximately 100 German Subway franchisees to provide free tray liners advertising the movie, according to Subway spokesman Les Winograd.
“Neither the German franchisees nor Subway paid for or created” the tray liners, Winograd said in a Tuesday telephone interview from Subway’s franchise headquarters in Milford, Conn.
The German Subway franchisees “were very heartsick to find there was a furor,” Winograd said. The promotion “was innocuous and innocent. There was no insult intended.”