INTRODUCTION: Jared Fogle is a former spokesperson for Subway, a popular fast-food restaurant chain. He rose to fame in the late 1990s and early 2000s for his story of losing over 200 pounds by eating Subway sandwiches as part of his diet.
Fogle was born in Indianapolis, Indiana on August 23, 1977. He graduated from Indiana University Bloomington in 2000 and then worked briefly in the revenue management department at American Trans Air.
OBESITY: Fogle had claimed that he become obese – at one point weighing 425 lb (193 kg) – through lack of exercise and eating junk food. Fogle changed his eating habits by eating at Subway, replacing his 10,000 calories per day food consumption with one small turkey sub and one large veggie sub along with some baked potato chips and diet soda, totaling about 2,000 calories.
“The Subway diet, combined with a lot of walking, worked for Jared” claimed a Chicago-area Subway franchisee that took Fogle’s story to Subway’s Chicago-based advertising agency.
COMMERCIAL: As the introductory test ads were a success, Fogle subsequently appeared in more television commercials as well as sponsored in-store appearances throughout the United States. He gave talks on the benefits of fitness and healthy eating. In 2002, Fogle was the subject of an episode of South Park titled”Jared Has Aides”.
JARED FOUNDATION: Fogle established the Jared Foundation, a nonprofit organization in 2004. This organization focused on raising awareness about childhood obesity through educational programs. This program also provides tools provided to parents, schools, and community organizations.
CELEBRATION: In February 2008, a Subway campaign celebrated “Tour de Pants” for Fogle maintaining his weight loss for a decade. As part of the campaign, Fogle made an announcement that he would retire his pair of 62 (160 cm) pants to a museum at the end of the advertising tour.
Fogle’s role in Subway afforded him many other opportunities like appearing in WWE in 2009 and 2011. By 2013, Fogle had filmed more than 300 commercials and continued to make appearances and speeches for the company.
ARRESTl: In 2015, Fogle was arrested on charges of possessing child pornography and engaging in sexual activity with minors. He pleaded guilty to these charges in 2015 and was sentenced to 15 years and eight months in prison. In addition to his sentence, he was also ordered to pay $1.4 million in restitution to 14 minor victims.
Fogle’s case drew widespread attention and raised questions about the responsibility of corporations when their spokespeople engage in criminal behavior. Subway quickly distanced itself from Fogle and ended its partnership with him.
CRIMINAL ACTIVITIES: Jared Fogle’s criminal activities first came to light in 2015 when the executive director of his charity, the Jared Foundation, was arrested on charges of possessing child pornography. During the investigation, it was discovered that Fogle had also possessed and traded child pornography and had engaged in sexual activity with minors, some of whom he had paid for sex.
Fogle’s guilty plea and subsequent conviction sparked outrage and disgust among the public. His sentence of 15 years and eight months in prison was seen as a just punishment for his crimes.
Since his conviction, Fogle has faced additional legal trouble. In 2020, he filed a motion to have his sentence reduced, claiming that his attorney had not adequately represented him during his plea deal negotiations. The motion was denied by the court.
Fogle’s case also led to increased awareness of child sexual abuse and the need for greater protection of children. In response to the scandal, Subway implemented new policies and procedures to ensure that their spokespeople undergo more thorough background checks and that their corporate responsibility for their spokespeople is more clearly defined.
CONCLUSION: Overall, Jared Fogle’s story is a cautionary tale of the dangers of celebrity and the need for corporations to take responsibility for the behavior of their spokespeople.