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'Monkeys' spawn a new sub genre


AUSTIN, Texas -- They're "spong monkeys." Really. That's what they are. They look like deformed hamsters or cardboard gremlins, and they've been singing "We Love the Subs!" in an odd ad campaign for Quiznos Sub shops that began Feb. 1, on Super Bowl Sunday. One has on a pirate hat, the other is wearing a bowler. They both have bulging blue eyes and weird toothy grins.

What the heck is a "spong monkey?"

It's a strange computer-generated creature from the United Kingdom that popped up on the Internet not too long ago and became a pop culture icon across the pond. The creative brain trusts at the Martin Advertising Agency in Richmond, Va., stumbled upon them and pitched them as "spokes-things" to the sub corporation.

"The agency thought they'd be perfect, and they presented us with the idea of putting them in a commercial," says Stacie Lange, vice president of public relations for Quiznos. "The creatures are just so zany and crazy and random. They really make people stop and pay attention."

The spong monkeys certainly snagged Quiznos' corporate attention. The company hired Martin for its new campaign and licensed the wacky critters. Martin says it's too early to tell how successful the ads have been in terms of sub sales, but the buzz has been loud.

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