The influence of the TV series Family Guy

Subway’s “eat fresh” slogan is exactly what this commercial is aiming to promote. Peter Griffin, one of the main characters in the television sitcom Family Guy introduces the new Subway feast, assuming of course that he has tried it himself. One of the ways he does this is by enthusiastically introducing the sandwich as an “ode to the Subway feast”. He precisely goes into specific detail about each individual part of the sandwich. This is when he begins describing the succulent turkey, salami, and roast beef. All while doing so, a delicious Subway food montage is going on in the background. This induces Peter, but of course, he doesn’t take the bait. Then, comes the healthy part: tomatoes, green peppers, and pickles began raining down like the water in a waterfall. Thus, tempting Peter again to want to take a large bite out of the sandwich beyond him. Peter’s stomach begins grumbling trying to resist the urge of this impressively towering sandwich and continue on with the job he was set forth to do, which is of course the commercial. The closer we get to the end of these short thirty seconds; Peter abandons his given script and humors us with his obtuse jokes for good measure. He indulges in himself and says, “The Subway feast, it’s as big as my head”, which if you know anything about Peter Griffin, he as a freakishly large head. Subway is promoting this idea that you can have fun and still enjoy a fresh sub sandwich through humor, by allowing Peter Griffin to use his immature jokes to purposely make fun of himself and others.

The audience in this commercial expands across a variety of people. When constructing this commercial the Subway writers knew they were dealing with a broad audience. I mean, who doesn’t get hungry and want to eat a delicious meal. The overall intended audience of this Subway commercial is those who are fans of Family Guy. Family Guy has been in syndication for two decades and has still been able to maintain its viewers. Therefore, when people see the Subway commercial and recognize Peter Griffin, one of the main characters is the leading role, they are instantly drawn in. In using him as a key component in the commercial, I believe the audience was more enticed by Peter; instead of the food item and the uttering of things that we are really not concerned with. More specifically, the Subway commercial seems to be aiming toward anyone adult or child who is willing to eat and enjoy a fresh Subway sandwich. I don’t believe they had a specific intended audience in the sense of age, gender or ethnicity. Subway is one of those places that offers something that everyone can enjoy. Therefore, when you come and visit no one feels left out. Typically, we don’t see kids under the age of 12 without adult supervision. Consequently, Subway’s intentions were to encourage either the adult or child to see the commercial. These two will then be motivated to persuade others around them to also try a fresh, delicious sandwich as well. Overall, there isn’t one specific target audience in this commercial. Again, Subway was aiming to reach a variety of people and even bring in some newcomers to try the fresh food franchise.

Throughout the commercial, Subway aims to connect with its audience and extract emotion through humor and pure entertainment. This is done by using Peter Griffin and his immature jokes to draw in its consumers. Peter’s sense of humor can predominantly be seen towards the end of the commercial when he makes a joke about himself and former Subway spokesperson Jared Fogle. Assuming most people viewing have watched Family Guy and are aware of who Peter Griffin is, the audience should be able to understand the gist of his jokes. This is assumed because Subway allowed for him to be the main attraction of the commercial and even included some of his childish ways into the commercial for good humor. By him reading off the script describing the sub sandwich in the background with his very distinct raspy voice, it is assumed that this will get a laugh out of its viewers. Additionally, the side jokes he made about himself towards the end may have added even more hilarity and could possibly allow for some people to relate in a funny way. Peter even talks about former spokesperson Jared Fogle and how he feels that he did a much better job than Fogle. This can possibly be seen as humorous to those who may have remembered Fogle’s previous Subway commercials. Overall, the pathos prevalent in this commercial is based on the viewers being able to relate to Peter as a person, and Subway as a whole.

Although Subway doesn’t use this commercial to connect with its audience emotionally, they do provide them with amusement and laughter. Peter Griffin isn’t your average spokesperson. Although he reads off script, he incorporates his own view of what he would consider funny to bring life to the commercial other than dull facts and ideas. This can be seen when he ditches the script and starts acting like the childish Peter Griffin, we all know and love. It is obvious that most people have seen the show, so Subway’s use of Peter and his immature comedy brings on a different effect to the audience. Most advertisements use pathos as a means of making its audience sob and cry. However, Subway took on a different approach and used Peter to strike a different nerve and cause its audience to chuckle a little. This added a twist to the commercial and did something different for the audience. We’re used to seeing actual people, more specifically big influencers who convince us to purchase a product through tears. Peter’s way caused us to both laugh and relate to him in a funny way.

Subway’s ethos in the Peter Griffin commercial is not as straightforward as the pathos, but there is still some form of ethos present. Subway alone is a very powerful name in the food industry, and its household name alone forms some type of credibility. However, this credibility extends when Peter Griffin states that “There's a delicious Subway food montage going on right behind me; well that’s going to make it kind of hard to focus”. Subway shows credibility here by highlighting the fact that Peter loves Subway and can’t seem to resist the urge to want to eat it. This is supported by the fact that throughout the commercial he constantly gets distracted by the large sandwich in the background. Even though the audience doesn’t know for themselves that the sandwich smells delicious, Peter is a credible source. Therefore, if Peter is claiming that the sandwich is as mouth-watering as it looks then the audience would be convinced enough to want to go and try a Subway sandwich for themselves. To further the credibility that Subway sandwiches are delicious, Peter goes into specific details about each type of bread, meat, cheese, and vegetables that Subway offers. This suggests that he is a regular customer of theirs and most likely knows what he is talking about. So, not only is he a popular character on a show that many watches, but he has knowledge of the company which in the end makes him an overall credible source. Subway’s popular name plays a major role in the credibility of this commercial, but Peter Griffin’s convincing arguments on how appetizing the sandwich is justifies the credibility that Subway already has.

There are little to no logos present in Subway’s Peter Griffin commercial. Even though there aren’t any facts, it does suggest things for one’s common thinking that provides a sort of logical argument. This is seen throughout when Peter is reading off the script describing in detail the Subway food displayed behind him. The presentation of Peter speaking very obviously goes against what we know to be logical: imaginary people can’t talk. However, he was able to do so and very fluently might I add. By going against the logic we know, the logos of Subway becomes clearer in the sense that if Peter can physically speak and bring out emotions about this sub sandwich, then only something he may have digested into his system could have generated this spirit. The audience is shown that the smell of Subway’s fresh meats and vegetables can urge the want for a sandwich. Additionally, the sandwich along with meats, cheeses, vegetables, and condiments that might be added probably tastes good if it can bring out this sensation in a false human being like Peter. It is essential that Subway doesn’t just tell the audience that this is what is happening, but physically shows the excitement that Peter feels for just this sandwich. Without the physical representation, it would be hard for their audience to believe that this is the same type of reaction they would get from eating it themselves. The visible passion really connects with the audience through logos that Subway’s sandwich is the only way to satisfy your hunger and “eat fresh”.

Overall, Subway is encouraging this conception that you can relish in a fresh sub sandwich and still enjoy yourself. This is seen through the use of Peter Griffin and his immature jests to intentionally mock himself and others. Subway doesn’t cause you to shed the typical tears and feel sad, but however aims to make you laugh. They wanted to create this idea that regardless of any local Subway you visit, there are a variety of different options you can choose from. The sub sandwich is so customizable that it’s almost comical. Peter’s character alone supports this idea being that he is a very well-known individual and many have seen his show. Therefore, if he can appreciate the sensation of the crisp veggies, meats, and cheeses Subway provides, then we all can “eat fresh” too!

07 July 2022
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