The top 3 things PR pros can learn from Subway
Fogle has appeared in Subway commercials for 15 years, and he became the face of the company. After he plead guilty to having sex with minors and possessing child pornography, Fogle heavily damaged Subway’s image by association. However, Subway has been making PR moves over the past month of which public relations professionals can take note.
1. React immediately
When the raid on Fogle’s house to search for child pornography first occurred, it only took Subway hours to speak with Fogle and make a statement to the public. A spokesman for Subway announced: “Subway and Jared Fogle have mutually agreed to suspend their relationship due to the current investigation.”
The fast food company also made sure not to cut all ties with Fogle right away, just in case the FBI’s suspicions were false.
“Jared continues to cooperate with the authorities and he expects no actions to be forthcoming. Both Jared and Subway agree that this was the appropriate step to take.”
2. Remove all association
After making a statement on Fogle’s suspended relationship with the company, Subway removed all mention of the former spokesman from their website. In August, it was revealed that the Jared Foundation never issued any grants to help fight childhood obesity, as Fogle claimed they did. If Subway hadn’t removed all mention of the Jared Foundation from their website, they would have been promoting a charity that purposefully misallocated their funds and lied to the public. Since the company removed everything Fogle related early on, they saved themselves from further damaging their image.
3. Less is more
Once it was finally confirmed that the allegations against Fogle were true, many awaited a reaction from Subway. Rather than making a big statement, Subway kept it short and to the point on Twitter.
Jared Fogle’s actions are inexcusable and do not represent our brand’s values. We had already ended our relationship with Jared.
— SUBWAY® (@SUBWAY) August 19, 2015
Their short statement was able to convey to everyone that just because Fogle was the face of the company, it didn’t mean his independent actions represented Subway’s values. They were also able to reaffirm to the public that they already ended their relationship with Fogle, in case anyone thought they were still working together. By keeping their statement short, Subway was able to get their message across without it getting misconstrued.
After over a month of making statements separating themselves from Fogle, Subway has now chosen to end the PR statements for the time being. Now, Subway is working on new marketing strategies to bring in customers after losing their 15 year commercial spokesman.
Is Subway out of the woods yet after the negative publicity surrounding Fogle? Did they make all the right decisions handling the Fogle situation? Leave a comment or talk to me on Twitter @Karbowski_Devon.