Friday, August 21, 2015
What could be a worse scenario for a struggling restaurant chain than to lose its principal spokesperson over child pornography charges? That is what happen to Subway, the sandwich shop franchiser. Subway had used Jared for 15 years in every part of its marketing. He was the face of Subway and its home-grown celebrity. It is a lesson not to depend on any one individual too much because one can never know what might happen. It should be axiomatic in publicity and marketing that if something can go wrong, it will. With spokespersons, one should always have a backup or a plan for proceeding without the individual in case a nightmare scenario happens. Think, for example, if Jared had died young from heart disease or clogged arteries. That would belie Subway's health claims for its sandwiches. Subway is not alone. Other brands have suffered similar meltdowns, some more serious. Marlboro cigarettes used a cowboy for its image for decades until one dying of cancer came out against smoking. Nike uses Tiger Woods as its face in golf, but Woods went through a period of scandal, a high-profile divorce and an injury that has left him a back-marker in the game. One who lives by celebrity can die by it.