British American host John Oliver discussed Subway’s controversial business practices and scandals before presenting a Subway K-drama parody in yesterday’s segment of “Last Week Tonight.”
Oliver began by shedding light on the various controversies that Subway has been involved in. A montage of news clips were shown, including a tuna lawsuit and the shocking discovery of the fast food company’s former spokesperson’s child sex tourism and pornography crimes.
The HBO host also discussed the unfavorable nature of Subway’s expansion business model and its contracts. He explained how the American company will often allow multiple locations to open within a small perimeter, harming its franchise operators.
“To this day, Subway franchises are told ‘You will not receive an exclusive territory,’ and their contract states, ‘We and our affiliates have unlimited rights to compete with you,’” Oliver said. “A Subway could open right next to yours and cut your sales in half.”
Oliver also pointed out that Subway franchisees’ contracts require that 12.5 percent of their gross earnings go to the company and 4.5 percent goes to advertising.
In addition, Oliver talked about the franchise’s heavy engagement with product placement in K-dramas. He comically stated that “every plot point seems to occur at a Subway” before showing clips from various K-dramas with Subway product placements, including a scene from the 2016 fantasy K-drama “Guardian: The Lonely And Great God” and the 2020 romantic K-drama “Crash Landing On You.”
Oliver then reviewed a 2020 mini K-drama released by the company called “Someway,” which follows a love triangle between two male Subway employees and a female customer.
“It’s art and it’s cinema and it’s sandwiches,” Oliver said. “Subway advertises a ridiculous amount and its franchises benefit from that brand building. But in return, Subway expects them to work very hard.”
At the end of the segment, Oliver shared his own parody version of “Someway” with comical lines that poked fun at the franchise.
In one scene, a suited man walks up to the Subway employee and tells him that the “lettuce is too green.” When the employee’s love interest walks up to the counter asking who the man is, the employee responds, “He’s my development agent. He sucks. Also, he got me to sign an incredibly exploitative contract.”
Feature Image via LastWeekTonight