10 July 2015

Subway, Eat Fresh?

Have you heard the Subway's former spokesperson, Jared Fogle, had his house searched by the F.B.I. this week? The search warrant cited child pornography.

Now before I get into the crisis response from Subway, I have a funny side note. At UW-Green Bay part of our communications curriculum is to complete a class called crisis and reputation management. For our final project we are given a fake (read FAKE) crisis for a company that we represent. My team and I were representing Subway, and had a plan for if Jared Fogle got accused of having child pornography. (Our plan was pretty similar FYI)

Anyway back to the actual situation. Fogle actually hasn't been accused of anything, it's the man that runs his foundation. Subway was appropriately cautious however and separated themselves from Fogle immediately.

Fogle has even been said to have agreed with the decision.

After completely the mock crisis situation, I have to agree with Subway's plan. Instead of defending Jared and their choice, they immediately took themselves out of the running. The only reason Jared is even famous is because of Subway. For a brand that is losing credibility because of blogger accusations, bad employee press and franchise abuse this is not helping their reputation.

Could Subway and Fogle ever repair his relationship? Probably not. Fogle will always have the stigma of child pornography. It's unfortunate, because Fogle was a huge brand booster for Subway. He increased their sales drastically as well as expanded the restaurant to over 110 countries.

How do you think Subway handled the crisis? What would you have done?Will you still eat at Subway?


  1. I agree with Subway's decision - it's a pretty serious accusation that, as you said, will always associate the accused with a stigma. I've been watching a few shows about crisis management and dissociation seems in line with what a big brand like subway would do.

    Alessandra | blog.pumpup.com

  2. Subway made the right choice. Jared is only famous because of Subway, and it's not important for Subway as a company to keep him as a spokesperson with his reputation tarnished.

  3. Oh my goodness! I did not know that!

  4. I absolutely agree with Subway's decision. I have to say one of the craziest moments of my life was finding out that there was a MAJOR PR crisis with a restaurant group that the company I was interning for, represented. It was absolute insanity and the war room seemed to be the new place for everyone to live. It's always interesting to see how companies handle issues and what their take on it is. It will also be interesting to see how this develops.

    Southern Belle Secrets

    1. At my internship there have been a couple of huge crises. It's always interesting to see if they take our firms recommendations or not! I'm really interested to see how this pans out!
      Thank you for reading and for the thoughtful comment, I really appreciate it!

  5. I agree with Subway's decision! A crisis with one person can really affect the representation of a brand. I have to admit that I'll still eat at Subway, though!

  6. I did hear about this! I would've done the same! There's no reason for Subway to potentially go down with Jared.

  7. Subway definitely made the right decision.
    From a PR standpoint, it's always best to separate yourself from people who will possibly tarnish your brand because you can always find another great spokesperson.

    xoxo, Jenny || Breakfast at Lillys

  8. Wow! I did not know about this. I definitely think Subway made the right decision. They made the decision not to have this crisis with their name in it and that is very smart!

    Mikayla | A Seersucker State of Mind.

  9. Oh wow! I think they made the right decision by disassociating. I agree that there was a time when Jared really helped their brand, but up until the child pornography issue, he hadn't been relevant for quite some time.

    XX, SS || A Little Seersucker Sass

  10. I haven't heard this story! & I don't think I know enough about it to offer an opinion but it's an interesting read and it's always interesting to see how companies deal with these kind of situations.

    Jessica | Jessica Grace

  11. I'm agreed with Subway's decision. I'm a big fan of Subway, but I was not aware of it!

  12. I definitely agree with their decision. It's important to take the accusation seriously. Even though, it wasn't actually him.

    Ally | http://www.preppylittlelesbian.blogspot.com

  13. It's an interesting topic. I understand why Subway distanced themselves from the guy-it's a total PR scandal!

  14. I heard about this the other day! I agree with Subway's decision. It isn't my favorite place to eat anyway, but I'd probably still eat there just because it was him and not them as a company, and they took appropriate measures.
    Alexandra | www.cloudyskiesandsunshine.com

  15. This is SO nuts... and crazy that y'all imitated the exact same scenario a few years prior! Loved your insight, couldn't agree more.

    Diary of a Debutante

  16. Wow. I have not heard anything about this. I think Subway made a smart move. You are completely right..this will be with him forever, whether true or not!

    xo Ashley

  17. I completely agree with their decision and I had no idea about this so thanks for bringing me up to date! I think they did the right thing. Subway is too big to let something like this tarnish their reputation

    The Fashionista's Diary

  18. I did not know of this situation. I think Subway made the best decision when trying to protect their brands integrity and reputation. I am too studying public relations. I'm not taking my schools crisis and reputation management class until next spring though. Anyway, thanks for bringing this to my knowledge.

    xoxo, Danielle

  19. I don't eat at Subway, so this doesn't affect me at all personally. I'm a little torn on the issue of them disassociating with Fogle. Yes, I think it makes sense, and I'm honestly not sure what else they could do. But I would hope that consumers are smart enough to understand a brand does not control their spokespersons, and one thing done by one person is not the same as something done by a company. However, historically, this is not the case and because of that I understand their choice, even if in my mind it seems a bit too defensive.

    Julia | Pennies & Paper

  20. Subway made the best decision to distance themselves, sadly the only way any of this can end is negatively - even if Jared is found to be clean.

  21. Yikes, such a crazy coincidence! I don't eat at Subway that often to begin with, so this won't affect my opinion of them!

  22. I guess from a PR standpoint that was a decision that had to be made for people not knowing the full story, but I've heard he didn't have anything and it was all a guy he had hired, which STINKS if he's actually innocent and taking the brunt of the blame and reaping unintended consequences of another's awful actions. Terrible situation all the way around.

    Coming Up Roses

  23. I think Subway handled it as best as they could, but this still seems like a disastrous situation for them. Their company was on the decline anyway, and this is not good for them at all! It's always fun to analyze these situations, I was a PR major in college as well and get a kick out of it!

    xo, Alicia | Alicia Tenise