Cannes Lions

Tuna for Tuna


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Case Film
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The brief was prompted by bizarre allegations against Subway in the US, falsely claiming that the brands tuna didn’t contain any actual tuna. Not only does Subway use 100% real tuna, they use fish exclusively caught with the most sustainable pole and line technique.

With the news story rapidly spreading across the UK, Subway needed a campaign which tackled this made-up rumour head on, while ensuring the audience learned the truth about the brands quality credentials. More specifically, we were looking to reassure Gen Z – an audience incredibly conscious of brands making sustainable choices.


To reaffirm the chain’s tuna credentials we created a simple challenge, asking gamers to catch a virtual tuna in Animal Crossing in return for a real tuna Sub, caught with the exact same pole and line fishing technique. All gamers had to do to claim their reward was share a photo or video of their catch on Twitter and tag Subway using the hashtag #TunaForTuna.

Alongside the promo film made in-game, live broadcasts went out on Twitch, with influencers encouraging fans to join them in catching some tuna.

Finally, to round up the campaign a celebration film went live on Twitter on World Tuna Day, featuring the best attempts.


When it came to engaging Gen Z, we couldn’t simply ‘announce’ our credentials in traditional media where it would either be not seen or simply ignored. We needed to go to them, to hang out where they were, and deliver our message in a credible way.

After exploring passion points and trends to find where we could credibly talk about sustainable fishing we discovered Animal Crossing – a huge lockdown hit, especially amongst Gen Z.

In this game people are challenged to build their own island, completing different tasks and activities along the way. Things like bug catching, fossil hunting and most importantly fishing, which is done with a pole and line, the same exact way Subway gets their tuna.


To get people fishing we launched the #TunaforTuna challenge, lasting for one week. Simply catch a virtual tuna in Animal Crossing, show us your catch on Twitter, and we’ll instantly send you a real tuna Sub caught in the same way, with a pole and line.

We started by posting a call-to-entries video on Twitter featuring a bespoke, Subway-branded avatar, helping us promote and explain the challenge in a way that felt natural to the platform. At the same time, we tapped into influencers on Twitch, inviting them to share their best attempts while highlighting our sustainability story.

Finally, once the competition was completed, we celebrated the best entries on World Tuna Day with a celebratory video on Twitter.


We tapped into an existing audience behaviour and found an opportunity to talk about our sustainability and quality credentials in a way that’s relevant for our audience. People spent over 400 hours of combined time fishing for tuna – a notoriously hard fish to catch in Animal Crossing. Some even recruited their virtual neighbours to come and help. The Twitch streams gave us an additional boost with people tuning in for multiple hours, with the promo video itself receiving over one million views.

Finally, we saw a drastic change in people’s attitude on social, with 233% increase in positive sentiment - a complete 180 turn from the negative press headlines. But most importantly, with every virtual tuna caught people were being educated on the quality of our ingredients. And the flow of the conversation was changed from questioning our credentials to celebrating them in a playful way.

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