After catching flak from homeschoolers over explicitly excluding them from its student story contest earlier this year, the Subway restaurant chain has now purchased banner advertisements on the website for Homeschooling Today magazine, touting its new “summer special” story competition.
This new contest, named “Every Sandwich Tells a Story,” carries the same name and prizes as the previous competition, but this time the contest is open to all students up to sixth grade, including homeschoolers.
A screen capture that includes the banner advertisement can be seen below:
In a general email sent by Jim Bob Howard, editor-in-chief of Homeschooling Today, Howard wrote, “For all those who clamored about Subway excluding homeschoolers, now’s the time to show them that we will indeed participate when they include us.”
Two months ago, WND broke the story of the first “Every Sandwich Tells a Story” contest, in which the published rules stated, “Contest is open only to legal residents of the Untied (sic) States who are currently over the age of 18 and have children who attend elementary, private or parochial schools that serve grades PreK-6. No home schools will be accepted.”
The original promotion not only misspelled “United” States, but offered the grand prize winner a “Scholastic Gift Bastket (sic) for your home.”
The top prizewinner was also set to have his or her work published in Scholastic’s Parent & Child magazine, receive a Subway gift card, and earn $5,000 in athletic equipment for his or her school.
Though Subway presumably excluded homeschoolers because of the athletic equipment, bloggers pointed out that the equipment could have easily been donated to the park or school of the winner’s choice.
WND quoted Valerie Bonham Moon, who wrote about Subway’s public relations gaffe on HomeEdMag:
“By now, the Subway sandwich shop marketing division must know how bad of a decision it was on the part of whichever wonk who decided to expressly exclude homeschoolers from their latest contest. E-mail lists may not be utterly aflame over the exclusion, but there is more than one p—ed-off homeschool mom spreading the word. I’ve been reading their e-mails.”
The original contest, launched in January, had a deadline of June 30, 2008. A grand prize winner and 6 runners-up were scheduled to be selected this week.
As WND reported earlier, the uproar over the discrimination against homeschoolers and the threat of boycott led to a public apology by Subway spokesperson Jeremie Roche.
“We at Subway restaurants place a high value on education, regardless of the setting, and have initiated a number of programs and promotions aimed at educating our youth in the areas of health and fitness,” said Roche.
“We sincerely apologize to anyone who feels excluded by our current essay contest. Our intention was to provide an opportunity for traditional schools, many of which we know have trouble affording athletic equipment, to win equipment. Our intent was certainly not to exclude homeschool children from the opportunity to win prizes and benefit from better access to fitness equipment.”
Though Subway told WND that it was impossible to alter the rules of the first contest after it had started, the company promised to amend the next contest’s rules to include homeschoolers.
“To address the inadvertent limitation of our current contest and provide an opportunity for even more kids to improve their fitness, we will soon create an additional contest in which homeschool students will be encouraged to participate. When the kids win, everyone wins!” Roche said.
True to its promise, Subway’s new “Every Sandwich Tells a Story” contest no longer contains the rule that once excluded homeschoolers, and the advertising on Homeschooling Today suggests Subway is eager to regain their business.
Under the new rules, contestants have until Aug. 31, 2008, to submit their entries, and winners will be selected on or about Sept. 21.