INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The relationship between Jared Fogle and Subway could be described as a successful marriage. 15 years strong with a few ups and downs. Still it seemed the two made each other better, Subway’s sales increased and Jared kept the weight off that he worked so hard to lose.
It all started 17 years ago when Fogle, a 20-year-old Indiana University student, decided it was time for a change. He started eating Subway twice a day, because it was “nearby.” According to his story, the diet paired with a lot of walking helped Fogle lose 245 pounds in less than a year, more than half his body weight.
A story in the IU paper, caught the attention of Men’s Health and then Subway higher-ups.
Fogle started showing up in Subway commercials in 2000. The ad campaign gained huge momentum, Fogle even started to show up in pop culture, like SNL in 2001 and a 2002 episode of South Park.
He became the constant in Subway ads appearing with other weight loss success stories, star athletes and celebrities.
In 2005 when Subway briefly stopped airing ads featuring Jared, sales dropped 10 percent proving his importance to the healthy branding.
Around that time, Fogle started the Jared Foundation to help fight childhood obesity and in 2006 his book “Jared, the Subway Guy: Winning through Losing” hit stores everywhere.
But by 2010, he regained 40 pounds. Rather than severing the relationship, Subway revitalized it’s focus on Jared and made his setback a marketing strategy. He even ran the New York City Marathon.
According to a study in 2013, Fogle’s presence helped Subway become the restaurant industry’s most effective advertising brands. That same year, the sandwich chain congratulated Fogle on 15 years of healthy living with an ad featuring many famous faces.
From celebration to separation, after the investigation into Fogle’s home Tuesday, Subway released a statement saying the company is “shocked” and that executives and Fogle “have mutually agreed to suspend their relationship.”
Business experts say if something does come out of the investigation and tarnishes Fogle’s reputation, it will likely spill over to the Subway brand.