The Quiznos Spongmonkeys Are Back To Haunt Us

The mascots of our nightmares have returned in a new commercial for Quiznos subs.

I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but there's something unfortunate I must tell you, for your own safety: The Quiznos Spongmonkeys have returned. The terrifying mascots consisting of some sort of rodent body and misaligned human eyes, along with a human mouth in need of orthodontia, popped up in a new commercial to declare their love of Quiznos subs. Just when we thought they were sealed away in some marketing vault for eternity, they're back to get their screamy song stuck in our heads again.

What are the Quiznos Spongmonkeys?

The Spongmonkeys served as the de facto mascots for Quiznos starting in early 2004; ads featuring the odd creatures ran throughout the year before being discontinued. And excuse my language for a second, but I fucking hated them.

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The two creatures—one of which is lead vocalist, the other of which floats around playing guitar—were not originally intended as corporate shills. Created by Joel Veitch, founder of creative agency and early internet powerhouse Rathergood, the Spongmonkeys' unholy likenesses were plopped on the internet in 2003, singing a song about how they love the moon. Quiznos eventually became interested in using them in advertising—because nothing shouts "toasted subs" quite like the monsters that live in your childhood imagination.

The "spong" part of the name isn't a typo, either. It's a very specific term that supposedly means "the practice of adding large staring eyes with small pupils to an image," according to British website b3ta (which itself looks like a relic of the old internet). As to the "monkey" portion, well, I guess that's open to interpretation, because those sure as hell don't look like any monkeys I've ever met.

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The new Quiznos Spongmonkey commercial, explained

If you want to see the newest Quiznos commercial, be my guest. Veitch returned for this one, and the spot features the lil' scary Spongmonkey duo on a road trip to Quiznos. They make a stop at a gas station where they sing about gas prices, gas station restrooms, and billboards. It's real illuminating stuff.

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How is Quiznos doing now?

The sandwich chain was purchased by REGO Restaurant Group in 2018, and is poised for a calculated comeback after a dismal 10-year span between 2007 to 2017, in which it lost 90% of its units. It's currently laying the groundwork to regrow the chain, including new franchise agreements with plans for nearly 100 new restaurants and a new kitchen model for each storefront.

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The new commercial is part of a larger marketing campaign that will integrate it with social media efforts to bring attention to the brand again—and the ad isn't quiet about this aim, either. The whole reason the Spongmonkeys are on a road trip to Quiznos is because, as a voiceover notes, "It's harder to find a Quiznos these days. And we're here to fix that. Because it's a new day, and we're bringing Quiznos back."

Whether or not the Spongmonkeys will drive people to seek out the newest Quiznos locations is yet to be seen; honestly, it might have the opposite effect on me. But Quiznos is nevertheless banking on a very weird and particular variety of American nostalgia, one that we collectively hold for human-rodent-monkey hybrids possibly escaped from a lab, and hoping that it might cause us to open our wallets while muttering, "We love the suuuuubbbbbs." 

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