Jared is no longer just a spokesman; now he's an interviewer.
Subway has introduced a web series called "Jared's Journey," which will feature spokesman Jared Fogle interviewing celebrities about their health and nutrition habits.
The series will include six three-minute episodes, which will appear on the chain's website and its social media pages, starting with an interview with Mario Lopez.
For Mr. Fogle, the series is a change. As he and the chain looked for ways to make the most of his 15th year as its pitchman, the idea emerged to let Mr. Fogle interview people, he said, instead of again being interviewed.
"It's another manifestation of how to communicate our story, and it's adding to Jared's repertoire," said Subway CMO Tony Pace.
Mr. Fogle is recognized by more than 70% of U.S. consumers, according to the Celebrity DBI (formerly Davie Brown Index), which quantifies awareness, influence and other celebrity attributes. Among those who know him, about 80% like him to some degree, according to the research, though fewer than 5% said they like him "a lot." Still, trust is his second-best attribute in the DBI rankings -- behind endorsement -- putting him on par with Dan Rather, Brad Pitt and Johnny Depp.
Other celebrities that Mr. Fogle will interview include sportscaster Erin Andrews and actor Armie Hammer, who stars in Disney's "The Lone Ranger." Subway is a promotional partner with Disney, and is currently airing TV spots with tie-ins for the move, which comes out July 3.
Additional interviewees could come from the ranks of Subway's "Famous Fans" -- endorsers such as Apolo Ohno -- according to Mr. Pace.
"Jared's Journey" is part of a larger promotional program tied to Mr. Fogle's 15th year as Subway's spokesman. Mr. Fogle set out to lose weight while a junior at Indiana University in 1998, eventually dropping 200 pounds by eating some of Subway's lighter sandwiches for lunch and dinner. Mr. Fogle said a friend wrote an article about his weight loss for the school newspaper, a story that spread and eventually caught the attention of Subway executives.
Subway began the program earlier this year with a Super Bowl spot, which showed Subway endorsers including Blake Griffin congratulating Mr. Fogle on keeping the weight off, and will continue it with appearances and other elements. Mr. Pace said further TV commercials are possible.
The series is only the latest brand association for Mr. Lopez. He was recently enlisted for a campaign in which Mattel sought a new home for Barbie. In March, Mr. Lopez appeared in a Calvin Klein underwear campaign.
Subway is the second-largest fast food brand ad spender in the U.S., trailing only McDonald's, according to Kantar Media. In 2012, the sandwich chain spent $517.2 million on U.S. measured media, up 8.7% from $476 million in 2011.
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