Why It's Time for Subway to Retire Jared

Last Updated Nov 29, 2010 11:33 AM EST

Subway had what should have been a feel-good story recently, when formerly-fat spokesman Jared Fogle gained a few pounds, but then got in shape and ran the ING New York Marathon. While the move boosted Jared's visibility, it's mostly earned him jeers from the public rather than praise.

The sandwich-chain leader needs to face the fact that Jared has become a liability. All marketing campaigns have a lifespan. Some go on for decades, while others wane quickly. Jared has had a great, decade-long run as the Subway spokesman, but it's time to find another pitchman.

Here's why Subway should retire Jared:

Time for fresh blood. Subway's current motto is "eat fresh," not "lose weight." Jared is about losing weight, so he's a bit off-message. Maybe there's a fresh-food guru Subway could sign on for the next big story arc in its advertising.

He's boring. Once upon a time, Jared was a newly thin college student, and his 245-pound weight-loss story was recent and interesting. Now he's a middle-aged guy with a few extra pounds on him, and he lost the big weight 12 long years back. In other words, rather than unusual he is now an absolutely typical American. If that isn't boring enough, you should hear Jared talk about his marathon run...if you can stay awake:


The public is turning on him. Jared posted a slow time in the marathon, but you'd think it still makes a pretty inspiring story that might rally people around him, especially since he'd never even run a mile prior to starting training. It should have come off sort of like when Oprah Winfrey loses weight, then gains it back, then loses it again. Instead, the blogosphere was vicious.

In response to his marathon time of five hours and 13 minutes, one YouTube commenter mocked, "What a pathetic time. Daris from Biggest Loser did it over an hour quicker." Blogger Knox McCoy put Jared in the "Things That Piss Me Off" category, writing: "I've got nothing else to give you, Jared. You've squeezed out the last drop of former fat-guy sympathy."

Reports of his death are being circulated. Another manifestation of anti-Jared sentiment can be found on sites such as Jared Remembered, which circulates the idea in an undated post that Jared has actually died of complications of gastric-bypass surgery. The tongue-in-cheek site suggests donations go to a "Last Sandwich Jared Fogel Memorial Fund." It's hard to think of a more dramatic illustration of how Jared is past his freshness date as Subway's spokesman.

It'd be good for Jared, too. Jared's life has kind of been frozen in time, ever since he lost the weight and was discovered by Subway. His first commercial for Subway was in 2000. It's time for the next chapter in this guy's life. He doesn't really need the Subway campaign anymore -- he can write books and be a motivational speaker until he's old and gray. Or maybe he could just kick back and gain a few pounds if he wants, without being hounded or made into an object of public scorn.

It's ironic that at a time when America just keeps getting fatter, the public is down on Jared. His healthy-eating message is certainly still relevant, but apparently many people don't want to listen to him tell it anymore.

Photo via Flickr user zyphbear
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  • Carol Tice

    Carol Tice is a longtime business reporter whose work has appeared in Entrepreneur, The Seattle Times, and Nation's Restaurant News, among others. Online sites she's written for include Allbusiness.com and Yahoo!Hotjobs. She blogs about the business of writing at Make a Living Writing.