Subway suspended its relationship with longtime spokesman Jared Fogle yesterday afternoon, after the FBI searched Fogle's home in connection with a child pornography-related investigation. The sandwich chain has since removed any mention of him from its website and all social media channels.
Over the past 15 years, Fogle has been an enormous asset to the brand, which now has more than 44,000 locations in 110 countries.
The world first caught wind of Fogle's Subway diet in 1999. When Fogle was a freshman at the University of Indiana, his college newspaper, The Indiana Daily Student, ran a story detailing how he shed a staggering 245 pounds in one year, eating two Subway sandwiches a day. Men's Health picked up the story, publishing "Stupid Diets That Work" in its November 1999 issue.
That's when Subway took notice. Fogle's first spot aired in 2000.
By 2001, the chain had 15,000 locations worldwide, up from 14,000 in 1999. The following year, The Wall Street Journal reported there were more Subway locations than McDonald's locations operating in the U.S.
Three years later, boosting its ambassador's profile, Subway launched The Jared Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to teaching kids about the dangers of obesity and how to live a healthy lifestyle.
In 2008, the chain launched a catchy campaign for its $5 Footlongs and also celebrated 30,000 open restaurants.
By 2011, sales had more than tripled, from $3 billion in 1998 to $11.5 billion. The next year, Subway scored the title of "Most Loved Fast-Food Chain in the U.S." in YouGov's BrandIndex Buzz Rankings.
"I don't think we would have gotten as far as we did without Jared and the new bread and the menu that we also introduced at that time," Fred DeLuca, Subway's founder and president, told Inc. in 2013.
That same year, Subway ran a star-studded Super Bowl spot featuring famous athletes and celebrities including Robert Griffin III, Apolo Ohno and Brian Baumgartner, all congratulating Fogle for losing so much weight and keeping it off for 15 years.
Fogle hasn't been featured recently in as many Subway ads as he once was, but the brand tapped him earlier this year for "Jared's Journey," which takes a look back at his weight loss and how he plans to pass on his healthy eating habits to younger generations and his two kids.
In May 2015, Forbes ranked Subway as the world's 84th most valuable brand, with a brand value of $6.8 billion and $19.8 billion in sales.