Subway claims that ‘Footlong isn’t a measurement of length’

new york post subwayEmbattled food chain Subway Australia has attempted to tackle the growing controversy over its “footlong” sandwiches not necessarily being 12 inches long by telling its customers that the name of the snack is not intended to be a description of its length.

The comments on Subway Australia’s Facebook page came after users began to post images of “Footlong” sandwiches that were not.


subway footlongSubway Australia has responded to the controversy byclaiming that its use of the word “footlong” is not meant to refer to length. It posted on the Subway Australia Facebook page:

“With regards to the size of the bread and calling it a footlong, “SUBWAY FOOTLONG” is a registered trademark as a descriptive name for the sub sold in Subway® Restaurants and not intended to be a measurement of length.”

The furore has become an international story with the New York Post splashing with the story and even the Wall Street Journal covering it.

Perth teenager Matt Corby is reported to have been the first person to post an image.

The Australian Consumer Competition Commission was unaware of the issue when contacted by Mumbrella today but a spokeswoman said there were laws governing misleading advertising, and said consumers should make official complaints.

“The Australian consumer law prohibits conduct by businesses that is misleading or deceptive,” she said, adding her comments were general and were not specifically related to Subway.

“Whether the activities of a business raises concerns under these provisions depends on the circumstances in the case.

Enforcement of the law would aply if a breach was found.

“(Concerned) consumers should contact their local fair trading agencies or the ACCC.”

Meanwhile, a previous US ad for Subway, currently available on YouTube, tends to contradict the chain’s claim that it doesn’t link the word “Footlong” with length, featuring “1ft” hovering over the head of characters in the ad.

subway 1ft

google news subway

Source: Google News

 5pm update: Subway has issued the following media statement:

“Each Subway® restaurant freshly bakes bread in-store every day. We use bread forms that are approximately 30cm in length, however, due to the natural baking process, slight variations in the length of the final product can happen.

“’Subway Footlong®’ has been registered as a trademark and is a description of the sandwich only; length of the final baked product cannot be assured due to this natural baking process. We have policies and procedures in place to ensure that our products are consistent no matter which Subway® restaurant you visit.

“The photo of a Subway® sandwich that you referenced is not baked to our standards.

“We believe in this case that our procedures were unfortunately not followed.”




  1. Smartshopper
    18 Jan 13
    1:38 pm

  2. Lets say ‘footlong’ isn’t a unit of measure, can they say the same about their 6 inch subs. Clearly they are also just 5.5 inches. Subway has been caught out on this one, big time.

  3. Lindsay.
    18 Jan 13
    1:44 pm

  4. If it is not a foot long, how can it be a footlong?

  5. Teddy
    18 Jan 13
    1:47 pm

  6. Gee FOOTLONG not an indication of length, really. I was over paying $10.00 for a salad roll anyway.

  7. Bustin Jeibers
    18 Jan 13
    1:50 pm

  8. That response is outrageous.

  9. Damien
    18 Jan 13
    1:54 pm

  10. Another poster now claims the original photos was posted on an American website in June 2012.

  11. It really is that long...
    18 Jan 13
    1:55 pm

  12. maybe the guy who determines the size at Subway has wang length issues.

  13. Daniel
    18 Jan 13
    1:57 pm

  14. Just own up to that fact you’re cheap pricks and you’re ripping us off!

    You tried to get away with what every other food manufacturer is doing – ie. reducing the size while leaving the prices the same – only you couldn’t because the name you gave your product is based on its size!

    It is not a foot in length, stop calling it a Footlong – false advertising as clear as it gets!

  15. John Holmes
    18 Jan 13
    2:05 pm

  16. subway are just doing what all blokes do…….

  17. JB
    18 Jan 13
    2:06 pm

  18. By using that maths, yes, ladies, I do have an eight-inch cock….

  19. harro
    18 Jan 13
    2:09 pm

  20. They give me 1/12 of the sandwich!! I want 1/12 of the money back that I have been spending for years! I hate you Jerry!

  21. jonesy65
    18 Jan 13
    2:18 pm

  22. This is a news story????- seriously get a life everyone!
    “outraged that Subway are ripping us all off”-OMG- you have so little going onin your life this matters one bit?

  23. Ash Guy
    18 Jan 13
    2:22 pm

  24. My god. Who cares?

    They’re not ripping you off– you see them make the damn thing. If you dont want it then you have ample opportunity to not purchase it.

  25. Ben
    18 Jan 13
    2:22 pm

  26. Actually Harro, they gave you 11/12ths of the sandwich…

  27. JD
    18 Jan 13
    2:23 pm

  28. Is the macca’s quarter pounder actually a quarter pound?

  29. Tiffany
    18 Jan 13
    2:24 pm

  30. If you view the original TV commercial for the footlong, they used the word Footlong indicating the length of the roll….

  31. Bruce Andrews
    18 Jan 13
    2:24 pm

  32. Sounds to me like misleading and deceptive conduct under Section 56 of the Trade Practices Act (if that still applies).

  33. Simon
    18 Jan 13
    2:25 pm

  34. they need a new spokesperson – hopeless response. If not length, then what does it relate to?

  35. azz
    18 Jan 13
    2:26 pm

  36. so the six inch is also not a measurement of length?

  37. Jackie
    18 Jan 13
    2:26 pm

  38. This reminds me of that old joke about women’s spacial misperception and how long 7 inches is!

  39. bandit
    18 Jan 13
    2:26 pm

  40. Funny that an Aussie living in the metric system was the one to point this out!

  41. Old Mate Bryan's Old Mate
    18 Jan 13
    2:27 pm

  42. *eyeroll of the century*

  43. Daniel
    18 Jan 13
    2:28 pm

  44. Why is everyone shocked? Its the same as McDonalds using “100% Beef”. Test that. News: “Fast food industry not really honest about contents of their crap”

  45. Alberto Rosso
    18 Jan 13
    2:29 pm

  46. I’ve managed to convince my missus that five inches is six.

  47. carl
    18 Jan 13
    2:29 pm

  48. I dont believe the Photo was actually taken by the kid in Australia
    The business Cards address and phone number parterns don’t look local
    And dont get me started how useless a measuring tape with inches is in a country that uses metric, you can’t even buy measuring tape with just inches on it.

    Why anyone is surprised about subway shrinking is beyond me

    I havent gone to subway in ages because the Half Sub (6 Inch) has gotten tremendously smaller and smaller

    In one case they gave me one that was no bigger that a Bigmac
    meaning probably 3 – 4 inches

    I assumed it was because the manual activity of cutting 12 inch bread is not exact measurement.
    Not the “Footlong” was result of subway attempting to detach their “Footlong” from the official unit of measurement defined in physics and science.

    Subway your bunch of nutjobs

  49. Nadine
    18 Jan 13
    2:30 pm

  50. The term Footlong is used so frequently in TVC’s and other promotions. We should form an advertising bureau that measures these standards to ensure we don’t have any misleading message in market…

  51. mediaman
    18 Jan 13
    2:31 pm

  52. i think we are all a little bit guilty in claiming that something is actually longer than it really is, so I for one cannot really point the finger at Subway, although if I did it would be my middle finger, as it extends further out, rather than my index finger, which is a footlong………… or just a little less actually.

  53. Beery
    18 Jan 13
    2:31 pm

  54. Just had a footlong (sorry 11 incher) for lunch. Ham on classic italian, all the salads except for cucumber, with mayo & hot chilli sauce. The last inch was a struggle, thankfully there wasn’t another inch!

    But Subway have a bigger issue to worry about – stopping their customers from blocking the footpath, really people, line up along the shop fronts, not at right angles to the window……

  55. Penguin Alert
    18 Jan 13
    2:31 pm

  56. Love it when marketing douchebags forget that the words they use have actual meanings.

  57. Kevin
    18 Jan 13
    2:32 pm

  58. If the “Foot long is not meant to be a foot(12”) long and only a registered name for a product then WHY is another product called a Six Inch???

  59. B
    18 Jan 13
    2:34 pm

  60. The measuring tape in the picture does look suspiciously free of metric measurements for an Australian one…

  61. Loz
    18 Jan 13
    2:34 pm

  62. Are they doing an Armstrong? #LieStrong

  63. Jim
    18 Jan 13
    2:35 pm

  64. It’s similar to HJ’s or McDonalds, can’t remember which. Heard that their “100% real beef” patty is also a trademark, not an actual indication of what’s in the patty.

  65. Quizzard
    18 Jan 13
    2:35 pm

  66. Er, is it just me or is the John Holmes post a mere coincidence?

  67. GC
    18 Jan 13
    2:37 pm

  68. Wow are they like funnelling all those un-sandwiched inches into Scientology or something?

  69. Size 8 ... feet
    18 Jan 13
    2:38 pm

  70. I can’t help wondering why Subway’s response wasn’t just to post a photo of a sub (wrapped for hygiene) next to a human foot. Then add a paragraph on their Wikipedia page with a legend of their founder and his notoriously small feet.

  71. Shafted with an 11 incher
    18 Jan 13
    2:43 pm

  72. Lets get a class action going…

  73. dean wood
    18 Jan 13
    2:43 pm

  74. Biggest rip offs ever..fat people eat fastfood anyway!!

  75. Curious
    18 Jan 13
    2:45 pm

  76. Does the Macca’s quarter- pounder weigh a quarter of a pound? Does the double quarter pounder weigh 1/2 a pound? If not, then this, too is an outrage! Maybe they should just stick with the “Royale with cheese”

  77. dean wood
    18 Jan 13
    2:48 pm

  78. Subway is not a healthy option when using there processed meat,sauces and wheat bread!! And we wonder why everyone is getting fat..wanting more food

  79. Tim
    18 Jan 13
    2:51 pm

  80. Subway should have just said they’re doing their bit for Australia’s obesity problem.

    Do we / our children / our tradies really need to eat a sandwich that is the size of a (US 14) shoe?

  81. Robyn
    18 Jan 13
    2:55 pm

  82. OK, I think my biggest question to Subway is;

    Fine, your FOOTLONG is not a foot long, and is in fact 11 inches. I will accept that. But if I order a 6″ sub, do I get 6 inches of bread? What do you do with the remaining 5″? Or are you lying about giving me 6″ and really only doing 5.5″? Because, while “Footlong” may not be a unit of measurement in the world of Subs, 6 inches is a valid measurement.

    Admit you were skimping on bread.

  83. Jam
    18 Jan 13
    2:58 pm

  84. Go to your local vietnamese bakery – super filling lunches for $4 – $5! And the ingredients are much fresher. Subway is disgusting!

  85. Groucho
    18 Jan 13
    3:06 pm

  86. Of course footlong is not a measurement of length, and nor is lying fucking bastards a comment on their deviousness.

  87. BrentW
    18 Jan 13
    3:08 pm

  88. 1) Was it Matt Corby the musician who caused this?
    2) People eating less is not necessarily a bad thing.

  89. SupremePeteza
    18 Jan 13
    3:08 pm

  90. Not a measurement of length…so it’s a measurement of smell?

    Help us out here Subway.

  91. BH
    18 Jan 13
    3:11 pm

  92. Get Real, People! When was the last time your chicken, looked the same as the KFC ad, or your McDonalds burger resembled anything like the pictures on the board. What about age defying products, what ingredient must it have? Sunscreen. Hair shampoo that makes your hair look shinier, does it? If you order a footlong subway and you are not happy with the size, you just have to say, Sorry that isn’t a foot long, please cancel my order and I will go else where for lunch. Then walk out.
    Its marketing. Get over it! If you don’t like it don’t shop there. How easy is that!

  93. Anonymous
    18 Jan 13
    3:14 pm

  94. one of my feet is only 11 inches long – maybe they named it after that…

  95. Shabbadu
    18 Jan 13
    3:20 pm

  96. This is actually hilarious.

  97. ratsrepus
    18 Jan 13
    3:29 pm

  98. I’m sure subway will make this right just as soon as they put all the prices up by 1/11th!

  99. Mark W
    18 Jan 13
    3:31 pm

  100. I read that they first said it was shorter as it wasn’t baked the correct way… as for Macca’s 100% beef…. yes it is rump, t-bone, head, shoulders, knees and toes…and eyes, ears, hoof, tail…

  101. Jade
    18 Jan 13
    3:45 pm

  102. You see them take the bread out and make it. If you’re not happy with the size why do you buy it? If you’re happy with an 11″ sub why have a whinge about another inch you don’t want?

  103. Johnny
    18 Jan 13
    3:46 pm

  104. I bags patenting the name Subway ElevenInchLong

  105. paul the freelance writer
    18 Jan 13
    3:52 pm

  106. Get the ACCC onto this. Or VCAT. Or VicHealth. Or ACMA. Or the ASB. Or the ACA. Or Adam Bandt, who is currently trying to live on $35 a week. Or get Julia Gillard to call an ‘en-quore-ey’.

    Don’t let Hungry Jack’s off the hook, either. How can you hold their 4884 kJ Ultimate Double Whopper to account with an unmeasurable name like that?

    And why are sushi rolls so short that you have to buy three?

  107. Yuri
    18 Jan 13
    3:52 pm

  108. Daniel (post 22) I’m pretty certain the McDonalds claim is that they use 100% Australian beef. i.e., sourced completely from Australian cattle.

    Jam @ post 42, if that bakery is in Sydney, I’ll pass. Your super-filling contents may have a certain crunch to them that I’d rather avoid. Subway has gotten to where it is by offering fresh ingredients served in a hygienic way according to certain standards for a price.

    Here they’ve let their standards in terms of understood amount fall and they deserve to be pilloried for it. I can’t believe Subway responded that way and have now left themselves open to being prosecuted for misleading advertising. What makes it worse for them is that they have never included a disclaimer about it being merely “descriptive”. You have to wonder whether there will eventually be a legal definition of what descriptive actually means if this ends up being prosecuted.

  109. Cmcc
    18 Jan 13
    4:07 pm

  110. If footlong is not a measure of length, $8.95 is not a measure of currency!

  111. WTF
    18 Jan 13
    4:57 pm

  112. Do they do a baloney footlong?

  113. Leigh Harper
    18 Jan 13
    5:03 pm

  114. Subway have been trying unsuccessfully to help in the Obesity War

  115. No, just no.
    18 Jan 13
    7:02 pm

  116. This just in: No one complaining here knows anything about baking bread. Bread not baked in a bread pan or mold varies in size. Both length and width, its just how things work. Short of using a bread pan and comple treeely changing the bread, there isn’t much of a way to get an exact size every single time. I’m amazed that this is a news story.

  117. Annabelle Drumm
    18 Jan 13
    7:32 pm

  118. All they really have to do is show us all the photos of each time the roll comes out 13″ and then they have a right to say it’s approximate. I’m sure they’ll be more careful measuring now… oh, for at least a few weeks.

  119. David
    18 Jan 13
    8:59 pm

  120. The only thing not baked to their standards is their ability to manage a crisis.

    A sphincter says what?

    18 Jan 13
    10:38 pm

  122. Subway marketing are onto a winner:

    “We’ve listened, and now our Footlong® is guaranteed to be an entire foot long! That’s the new Subway Footlong® foot long guarantee.”

  123. Andrew
    18 Jan 13
    11:31 pm

  124. As Lionel Hutz would say: “The most blatant case of false advertising since The Never Ending Story”

  125. Subway Wubway
    18 Jan 13
    11:56 pm

  126. Subway came out of the traps saying that it was healthy food for healthy people (just look at me the ceo and ex fatty blah blah…)

    They sell soda, chips and cookies ffs! Read up about “Pottengers Cats” and then look closely at the eyes of the pasty faced, fat kids walking around shopping malls, who are eating Subway, Macca’s and KFC etc Notice anything strange about their gaze? Give it a few more generations and they will be dropping like flies before they are 10 years of age.

    Subway, like Macca’s and KFC: Killing your future kin.

  127. Hamlet
    19 Jan 13
    12:04 am

  128. TBH I would prefer to draw dicks on the Herald Sun than eat a footlong (11incher) from Subbers…

  129. D. WILSON
    19 Jan 13
    12:21 am

  130. get used to the new world order , corporations rule, if you don’t like the food, its because the leaders you elected voted to poison its people with cancer,Some group of rich people dont care about what you eat as long as they dont eat it, you should be mad and since the government forces up the cost of liveing, your 1.00 chicken is 10.00 now, corporation would feed you grass if it had kfc spices on it, no genuine clothes , fake additives , plastic instead of metal, faux instead of fur, chrome metal is plastic, average price for a toy in canada at toysrus (TOY ZSAR U.S) 50.oo , i feel i am paying for americas recession, AMERICAN corporations leave no room for your children to start theyre own business, only work for them, all the cities in canada look the same now no individuallity, look at kfc all over the world ,it tasted better when it was just american not global

  131. D. WILSON
    19 Jan 13
    12:42 am

  132. AMERICAN corporations leave. my people want to start they re own buisnesses and keep the profits in our country, not take it to your country, people with real food and products that are not break able plastic, my home average is 350000 because american corps built them , my food bill is high because american corps own them , my traveling is high because american corps own fuel, my car because american corps own them , out of a job? american corps own those , want your national sport forget it canada goes without sports if america strikes, they now getting our football, 2011 2012 grey cup saw our bc lions had only 2 canadian players and the rest american players, i was taken aback while watching them play the national anthem they kept going to a shot of the only canadian on bc, CONSERVATIVES ARE NOT FOR THE PEOPLE , they sell out theyre own people.

  133. Sminky Pinky
    19 Jan 13
    11:20 am

  134. I think this thread has gone viral. Oh and mass market. (I bet Subway and KFC would love to get an advert on this page…)

  135. Mike
    19 Jan 13
    1:22 pm

  136. I worked at Subway in 2001. No size issues back then. Only once did I have to offer new bread to a customer after he said the one I cut him resembled a “used condom”.

  137. Yuri
    19 Jan 13
    1:58 pm

  138. D Wilson, your tin foil hat is ready.

    BTW, Subway first came to Australia when two high school kids at Hawker College in the ACT came back from a trip to the USA and saw a business opportunity. They bought the entire Australia-wide franchise license for a song thanks to loans from their relos. They were multi-millionaires by the time they were 30, about 12 years later. Don’t know who has the franchise license now.

    Instead of thrashing at the waves, how about you take your future in hand and do something about it?

    (Have to agree with him on the bit about the Conservative forces though. Any coincidence that the Republicans and LNP behave exactly the same? No, because they exchange young people as interns and ideas as well).

  139. Thomas Peterson
    19 Jan 13
    10:28 pm

  140. Subway seems to have a problem with words, measurements and standards. Remember this?

    Time for the ACCC to step in perhaps.

  141. Steve
    20 Jan 13
    12:13 am

  142. I remember a time when we would be discerning. By way of example and context let’s illustrate that subway carries the odour of turd and is staffed by students. Why would a a discerning person expect more that this? Seriously.

    Now we write blogs spouting rubbish about misleading advertising. What have we become, blameless sheep?

    I seems to recall reading about a movement, a little before my time, that believed in voting with the feet. Simply, if you dont like it, dont buy it. They’ll stop doing it. That’s how basic economics works.

    Oh, and stop whinning. For god’s sake, stop whining. It’s more boring that the god-aweful sandwich for which there was at least thankfully less to eat.

  143. Craig
    20 Jan 13
    8:52 am

  144. Regardless of how long the bun is, the response by Subways will only inflame the conversation online & amplify the issue for the brand.

    The response was clearly written by lawyers or senior managers who don’t understand effective communication.

    This is the danger for brands today – not that consumers will point out that 100% quality control is impossible, but that they will inflame the situation themselves by throwing fuel on the fire, showing themselves to not be keeping the promise they’ve made to their customers.

  145. Dan German
    20 Jan 13
    11:22 am

  146. My local subway had a sign up mid year saying “due to supply restraints, we are giving you less tomato”. Yet Coles & Woolies had plenty, for $9 a kg. Sign should have read, “expensive tomatoes are killing our margins, so we are adjusting”.

  147. George C
    21 Jan 13
    12:37 pm

  148. Maybe the ‘Footlong’ in the photo had just got out of the pool.

  149. BernardZ
    21 Jan 13
    2:20 pm

  150. Wekk I just brought a footlong sub and measure it. It was 12 inches in size. Interestingly they cut it into two six subs. One was 7 inches and the other was 5 inches.

  151. Nay
    21 Jan 13
    2:35 pm

  152. Did anyone actually think that the kid could have just squashed the sandwich to make it shorter? Its not hard to squash crappy Subway bread. But yeah, crap response from Subway. George C = hilarious.

  153. Jacob Hodgman
    21 Jan 13
    3:35 pm

  154. I’ve had subs that look exactly like the one in the photo or worse. I’d say they have a bigger problem than a once-off procedural failure. The response has me intrigued – insistence that they can tell the bread is not standard because they have a procedure that prevents this from happening…(even though it DID happen)… and then going on to say that the length cannot be guaranteed as all processes differ. What is it Subway? Do you have uniformity or not? Are your processes standardised or not? Do you really care either way? Maybe the bosses need to eat their own product, and without the staff knowing who they are. Then you’ll find out what the customers actually get. Half the time my subs get squashed due to heavy handling by your staff, or they flatten it so aggressively when cutting it that it opens up to reveal bread surrounded by what were once the fillings. Methinks a change of attitude at the top would filter down and improve things, but that’s not how management works these days, as that would mean having to ‘manage’ and not just ‘run’ a business. Ah, common sense, wherefore art thou?

  155. nell schofield
    23 Jan 13
    3:34 pm

  156. their response that it isn’t an indication of length was clearly at the behest of lawyers, who don’t have a bloody clue about PR and always make people and companies sound like even more dishonest muppets

  157. Neil Campbell
    24 Jan 13
    1:58 pm

  158. Now we await McD’s similar response to their Quarter Pounder which has clearly shrunk and, one supsects, neither raw or cooked comes close to being a quarter pound of anything!!

  159. AdamS
    25 Jan 13
    2:25 pm

  160. On the Macca’s wrapper… it says “100% Australian Beef”… Is that 100% Australian OR 100% Beef?

  161. Jacob Hodgman
    25 Jan 13
    2:33 pm

  162. @AdamS It is just a brand name. It could be Asian Chicken and they call still call it that!

  163. paulzag
    25 Jan 13
    3:43 pm

  164. It’s not the length but how you use it that counts?

  165. john
    31 Jan 13
    4:26 pm

  166. To be fair, it looks like that American (illegal to sell imperial only measures in Australia) has squashed the roll.

    McDonalds burgers are made from 100% beef, no fillers, no horse. Its made by mixing offcuts 50% lean and 50% fat.

  167. Beery
    1 Feb 13
    11:13 am

  168. Despite this topic probably having run its course, I measured my foot long sub yesterday (got it in Canberra). it was 31 cm. So that’s a tad over one foot in old talk. Was yummy too (ham and salad with mayo & hot chilli sauce, no cucumber)…….

  169. Groucho
    1 Feb 13
    11:55 am

  170. @Beery with all the great food choices in Canberra you would think you would keep quiet about eating at Subway. I have heard though that beer dulls the senses of smell and taste, and leads to poor life choices.

  171. Encyclic!
    4 Feb 13
    12:33 pm

  172. Beer does lead to poor life choices.

    Like deciding to live in Canberra, for starters.

  173. Beery
    4 Feb 13
    2:37 pm

  174. Hmm, they are creative jibes, think of them all by yourself?

  175. ChartpakMarkersMaimeriGouache
    5 Feb 13
    3:09 pm

  176. Subway’s claim RE “length” and “truth in advertising” amount to some Gen Y hipster-tard claiming that pics he’s stolen off the net, then altered with Adobe Illustrator or G.I.M.P., is “art”.

  177. BernardZ
    5 Feb 13
    3:58 pm

  178. I think it is wrong the claim it was 11 inches. When I heard I went out and brought a sub just to test it. Many more people similarly tested it, including another person here. He reported what I found that it was about 12 inches. I am sure the net would be full of images of examples if many of the subs were 11 inches.

    I also while measuring it, discovered that it was easy to squash the sub and make it 11 inches. It may have happened accidentally too while carrying it in the supplied bag. The original guy probably measured a squashed sub.

  179. Kit
    5 Feb 13
    4:59 pm

  180. Here’s an idea. If your products don’t meet a minimum requirement, like the expectation of a footlong actually measuring a foot in length, you don’t sell them. Simple. Introduce some basic Quality Assurance, put the rejected items aside and donate then to charity at the close of business. I worked for an Australian bakery chain for 5 years and this was standard procedure. No excuses and no BS doublespeak.

  181. Andrew
    14 Feb 13
    2:24 pm

  182. OMG, next people will be claiming the QUARTER POUNDER isn’t actually a quarter of a pound! 😛