Quiznos’ off-key Spongmonkeys are back

Quiznos is mounting a comeback, and it’s bringing its infamous off-key rodents.

In a single week of 2004, Quiznos received 30k complaints. They had nothing to do with the chain’s subs, but a bizarre ad campaign featuring two rodents — known as Spongmonkeys — belting an off-key song.


If you somehow missed it, here ya go. If it still haunts you, guess what? They’re back, baby.

Jimmy Lambatos…

… founded Quiznos in Denver in 1981, touting the fact that, unlike other sandwich shops, it toasted its subs. Lambatos sold Quiznos to father-and-son franchisees Richard and Rick Schaden in 1991, who took the company public in 1994.

Quiznos grew rapidly, at one point becoming the second-largest sub chain in North America behind Subway, with 5k+ locations by 2007.

But it wouldn’t last

Several misfortunes and bad decisions occurred:

  • Competitor Subway started toasting its subs
  • The Great Recession led to numerous store closures
  • Quiznos settled with several franchisees who sued over being forced to purchase food and paper goods from a subsidiary at above-market prices

Quiznos filed for bankruptcy in 2014, and fewer than 200 remain today.

In 2018…

… private equity firm High Bluff Capital bought Quiznos and placed it under the care of its restaurant platform, REGO Restaurant Group.

REGO is mounting a comeback with a new look, menu items, and drive-thrus.

Which is why the Spongmonkeys are back

In the early-aughts, Quiznos wanted to make a splashy ad with a small budget.

According to Mel Magazine, Ty Harper of ad agency The Martin Agency recalled a video by animator Joel Veitch that featured the “spongmonkeys” singing about the moon. Harper pitched it for subs.

So, naturally, Quiznos hired Veitch to make a brand-new commercial for its attempted comeback.

This one features the Spongmonkeys on a road trip to find the nation’s remaining Quiznos as the company attempts to court new franchisees, and rebuild its empire one toasted cheesesteak and fever-dream folk song at a time.

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Topics: Restaurants

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