Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek. 

What do you think of when you think of Subway?

Oh, you try not to think of Subway?

You think Subway is the place to go to for lunch, if all the other lunch places have long lines?

I confess I find the sandwich place, well, not as good as most sandwich places I know. 

It's a touch dowdy. And the food looks uninviting.

To which Subway wants to say: "No, no. We're frightfully exciting. We'll make you want to skateboard and do lots of other incredibly exciting things that younger people do all the time."

How do I know that this is what's in Subway's mind?

Because it's just released an ad campaign entitled: Subway. We're So Young and Exciting.

No, that's not quite the real title. 

Instead, welcome to Make It What You Want.

In which people do exciting, daring, eccentric things. Which will make you think that Subway is exciting, daring and eccentric. 

Of course, the makers of the ad were forced into inserting images of Subway sandwiches.

Which aren't quite as exciting or eccentric as rollerblading or snowboarding or, um, playing tennis with a Subway sandwich in your mouth.

Talking of your mouth, this ad even includes a bleeped curse word, because, I imagine, that is exciting and eccentric.

As is an animated Subway sandwich that makes exciting, youthful gesticulations.

Subway is releasing this in the face of footlong competition from the likes of Jimmy John's -- which I personally find just as exciting as Subway.

Moreover, McDonald's is currently trying to revivify its vast network -- occasionally with some humor.

But it's one thing to claim you're sexy -- and I'm not specifically referring to any leading politician here. It's quite another to truly be it. 

In Subway's case, this will require its product to be completely revamped.

Subway told AdAge that it's already remodeled 150 restaurants. Which is lovely, but it's got more restaurants than McDonald's.

In the U.S., there are 33,749 Subway restaurants. 

And, as the sandwich chain's chief advertising officer Chris Carroll told AdAge: "I don't think we've done a good job of creating a connection with our consumers."

I think he's connected with a good point there.

Moreover, has anyone noticed that Subway's promise of Make It What You Want seems remarkably akin to Burger King's Have It Your Way, which the burger chain dumped in 2014

I'm very happy to Make It What I Want, but I'm still fairly sure I don't want it at Subway.

It's hard to come from behind and turn something so vast around.

It's even harder when you don't have much of a tale to tell, other than that you make sandwiches.

Putting young, exciting people in your ads may make you feel better. 

It may not, however, make other people think you're very different at all.

Published on: Feb 15, 2018
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.