The latest and worst news yet involving Subway pitchman Jared Fogle is that he’s about to plead guilty to a lot of really bad things.
As the AP reported today, those include: “that he paid for sex acts with minors and received child pornography that he knew had been secretly produced by the former director of his charitable foundation.”
This is a major hit for Subway for at least two other reasons beyond the seriousness of Fogle’s plea: First, Subway locked him in as its pitchman, possibly the worst decision since Hertz and OJ Simpson; and, second, it did not cut him off fast enough when the allegations first surfaced and obviously did not do its due diligence about his life.
If you’re going to put your brand onto the shoulders of one person, you’d best make sure they are worthy of it.
How did Subway handle the latest bombshell?
“We have already ended our relationship with Jared and have no further comment.”
“Jared?” You mean your old pal?
Well, that’s just not going to be good enough. Reporters — not to mention consumers and social media prosecutors — are going to harangue and harass Subway until it answers more questions. For instance:
When did you know this about him?
Why didn’t you know sooner?
Had anyone over the course of your years-long relationship with Fogle made any allegations related to this sort of crime?
Did anyone ever suggest Fogle was involved in such things?
How much did you pay Fogle over the time period involved?
Were those payments the basis of his foundation?
If those payments were the basis of his foundation, what responsibility does Subway take in this criminal enterprise?
Fair or not, these are the questions Subway will be asked. No comment won’t cut it. The sooner these and myriad other questions are answered, the sooner this horrible crisis will ease.
The content of this blog is about crisis management and mismanagement in a digital age. It originates with Steve Bell, who spent 30 years as a journalist for the Associated Press and in four top editor positions at The Buffalo News. He is now Partner/Director of Public Affairs and Crisis and Reputation Management at Eric Mower + Associates, one of the nation’s largest independent advertising, integrated marketing and public relations agencies, with eight offices in the East. Learn more about EMA at mowerpr.com/crisisready. Steve’s blog is based on his own opinions and does not represent the views or positions of Eric Mower + Associates.