By 2015, Jared Fogle was riding high. Not only was he worth a reported $15 million, but he’d also managed to accomplish quite a lot for a man without any obvious talent. After starving himself thin, he’d also appeared in hundreds of commercials, toured the country as a motivational speaker, helped carry the Olympic torch through his home state of Indiana, written both an autobiography and a children’s book, appeared in some truly terrible movies, and even created a non-profit to fight childhood obesity – all of which helped him achieve what he really wanted: access to minors. And he owed it all to Subway.
The fast food franchise was founded in 1965 by 17-year-old Fred DeLuca and his family friend Dr. Peter Buck, a nuclear engineer. Starting with an investment of $1000 from Buck and the modest goal of funding DeLuca’s college tuition, they opened their first store in Bridgeport, Connecticut, under the name Pete’s Super Submarines. Customers were not impressed.
The duo’s sales were as flat as their sandwiches when, according to DeLuca, they hit upon the idea of opening a second store in Wallingford to “create the illusion of success.” That store also underperformed, but surprisingly, the deception behind it worked. Within nine years, the partners were selling franchise licenses all over the state under a new name: Subway. Their startup costs were relatively low compared to competitors like McDonald’s or Burger King, which fueled the chain’s explosive growth. By 1987 over 1000 Subway shops were spread across the globe, making DeLuca and Buck multimillionaires. In 1997, they opened an additional 1100 outlets in the US alone. Still, it wasn’t enough.
Enter Jared Fogle.
Around this time, the morbidly obese IU student decided to lose weight. His apartment was literally ten steps from a Subway store, and one day it belatedly occurred to him that low-cal subs without cheese or mayo would be an easy way to change his 10,000-calorie-a-day diet. After somehow summoning the willpower to endure an entire year of shitty subs, food understandably lost its allure for Fogle, and he eventually lost an incredible 245 pounds.
A Chicago-area Subway owner read about Fogle’s success in a 1999 Men’s Health article called “Stupid Diets… That Work!” He brought the story to the attention of the company’s regional advertising agency, and they quickly decided to shoot a test commercial with the Hoosier hebephile.
Jared Fogle’s first Subway commercial aired on January 1, 2001. His life – and the fate of his future victims – was about to change forever.
Friday Monday for Part 3 in this sickening saga.
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