Subway Jared Fogle Crisis PR

Life is very bad for National Jerk of the Week, Jared Fogle. The former Subway pitchman lost his gig back in April when police conducted an investigation into ongoing child pornography activities that included a visit to Fogle’s residence. Then, last week, it was revealed that Fogle was being charged with child porn as well as sex with minors and soliciting sex with minors. While reports vary, the stories are legion. Bottom line for every lede: Fogle is a monster who needs to be caged.

You’ll get no sympathy from me. Throw the book at him, then pick it up and smack him with it repeatedly.

But, Subway now, those guys have a mess on their hands, not of their creation. Of course, really it is…though it probably isn’t their fault. Nearly two decades ago now the marketing folks at the sandwich chain heard the story of a college kid who dropped an entire human in weight (and then some) eating “only” Subway sandwiches. When they investigated, glory be, it turned out to be absolutely accurate. They could not get Jared on film fast enough.

Every year up to this April, Jared was at the forefront of Subway’s ad campaigns. Sure, they did some other stuff, including the cloyingly addictive five-dollar foot long commercials, but they always came back to Jared. And can you really blame them? He was the perfect combination of miracle story, and Joe Average Makes Good.

Unfortunately for Subway, Joe Average is very evil. Now they are stuck with a big PR problem. Problem 1, how do they replace what was, pretty much, the entire face of their brand. Problem 2, how do they stop the general consumer public from saying stuff like: “You know, Jared the Subway guy who’s in prison for raping kids.”

That risk underscores the inherent danger of making any single “face” definitive to your brand. Jared will never be Jared without Subway, but, Subway has to become Subway without Jared as soon as possible. They need an aggressive all guns firing all hands on deck PR campaign to launch yesterday. Something as connective but very unlike the Jared campaign. It’s a tall order, but they have no choice.

That’s what happens when you hitch your wagon to a mule who wants to drag you into a ditch.

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One Response to Crisis PR & The Foibles of Fogle: Cutting Ties When your Brand Implodes

  1. […] Knowing how to respond and doing so without hesitation are vital when dealing with a public relations crisis. […]

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