IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Want free Subway sandwiches for life? Get a foot-long tattoo

We're talking a literal foot-long tattoo, folks.

For a lucky few fans of a popular quick-service sandwich juggernaut, free subs for life are possible — for a little (OK, a lot of) ink.

On July 21, Subway announced a unique contest that can score participants up to a lifetime of free subs if they get a permanent Subway-themed tattoo.

The contest is part of a block party Subway is throwing at Las Vegas parlor Bad Apple Tattoo. During the event celebrating the chain’s new Subway Series menu, nine super fans can opt to get a real tattoo Subway has designed from tattoo artist DJ Tambe, a two-time winner of the reality competition "Ink Master" or a member of his team.

Those who may be expecting a meatball sub on their bicep may be disappointed, however — in order to claim their prize, these nine fans must agree to get the baseball jersey-themed Subway Series logo emblazoned on their person. All participants will receive longer-term prize winnings based on the size and placement of their tattoo. 

The Subway Series logo.Subway Restaurants

Here's how it works: A 2-inch square tattoo nets free subs for a month, and a 3-inch square tattoo on a person’s shoulder blade, forearm or calf nets them free subs for a year. In order to get subs for life, participants must get a tattoo Subway calls "The Footlong," a 12- by 12-inch tattoo to be permanently inked onto their sternum or back. Footlong? More like foot-long and foot-high.

“Tattoos hold a special meaning for my customers, they come to me to celebrate the things they love the most or to commemorate a major moment in their lives,” said tattoo artist DJ Tambe in a press release. “Whether that’s the first time trying the Subway Series, or simply eternal love for Subway, I’m here to make that a permanent part of their lives and something to showcase.”

Subway will offer nine tattoos during the six-hour event while supplies last and said it’ll only give away one Footlong tattoo to the first brave soul who agrees to get it. Subway also said that eligible adults who are 21 or over can claim the remaining eight tattoos on a first-come, first-served and walk-in only basis. Interested parties can line up to get their tattoos starting on Wednesday, July 27, at 8 a.m. PT. Last call for the Footlong tattoo is at 1 p.m. PT and, for the remaining tattoos, 3 p.m. PT.

A Subway staff member holding a footlong sandwich. Picture: Scott Bairstow/Alamy
A Subway staff member holding a footlong sandwich.Scott Bairstow / Alamy Stock

For those who adore sandwiches but not enough to get a permanent reminder of that love, Subway’s Las Vegas block party will give out free 6-inch sandwiches from the Subway Series menu while a DJ spins tracks partygoers can boogie to on a dance floor, amongst other fun activities. Mega-fans who don’t want to make a lifelong commitment can also show their love for the sandwich chain in a less permanent way by getting an airbrush tattoo from artists onsite.

Subway is the latest in a long line of restaurants and food brands who have offered tattoos for free food, including burger chain Farmer Boys, Duke’s Mayonnaise, San Francisco restaurant Casa Sanchez and ice cream brand Drumstick. For every single one of those brands, many people in fact did get permanently tattooed, so the odds someone will get lifelong ink celebrating Subway are in its favor.

And, if you’re wondering how the winnings work, the free subs will be given out in the form of gift cards. Starting at $372 for a month of freebies, ink that scores folks free subs for a year will be awarded as $4,380 worth of Subway credit. Finally, a whopping $50,000 worth of Subway gift cards will go to the lifetime supply recipient, according to contest terms. And if you really think about it, you could get that all in chocolate chip cookies if you truly wanted.