Jared Fogle was the face of Subway, the multi-billion dollar sandwich chain. His story helped the chain triple its sales in the decade or so he was affiliated with the company.
Today, he pleaded guilt to child pornography charges and will find himself eating prison food instead of Subway sandwiches.
The question is, does Subway have a PR crisis on its hands through its affiliation with Fogle?
Typically, a PR crisis focuses on the actions of an organization or one of its employees. But Fogle was not an employee, he was merely its spokesperson. Is there a PR crisis by association?
The obvious answer is no. Subway has done nothing wrong and there are no guarantees that an advertising face will remain an angel forever. It was a good advertising idea when it started and helped the company increase sales over the years. But now its over. Subway immediately cut ties with Fogle when it was first learned that Fogle’s nonprofit director was accused of similar crimes. It seems apparent that he led authorities to Fogle.
So the best thing Subway can do is forget they ever heard of Fogle and move on. He is history. His name and likeness should be scrubbed from every document in the Subway headquarters, and I am sure this was done a long time ago.
I would close by advising that companies choose their reps wisely, but predicting the future and predicting human nature is a skill that has yet to be perfected, and we have a long way to go.