KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:
Jared Fogle has been the face of the Subway sandwich chain for 15 years. Now Subway has suspended its relationship with him. That's after a search of his home by law enforcement in connection with a criminal investigation. Here's NPR's Allison Aubrey on the effect Fogle has had on American fast food.
ALLISON AUBREY, BYLINE: Even if you don't recall the face of Jared Fogle, you probably remember his pants.
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PIERS MORGAN: So Jared, you've got your old fat pants, haven't you? Let's have a look at them.
JARED FOGLE: I do. These are way more famous than I am, Piers. Actually, if I...
AUBREY: That was Fogle during a 2013 appearance on CNN's Piers Morgan show. His claim to fame - back in the late '90s, he was an obese college student in Indiana, and when he lost a jaw-dropping 245 pounds by swapping greasy food for low-fat Subway sandwiches, the chain made him the centerpiece of its brand.
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UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Remember Jared, from Subway? He's inspired a lot of people.
AUBREY: Jared's slimmed-down waistline helped his bank account grow. And along the way, food marketing professor John Stanton of St. Joseph's University says he helped change the thinking about fast food.
JOHN STANTON: I don't think there's any doubt that he was the first person to draw attention to the fact that fast food is not necessarily bad for you.
AUBREY: If you make good choices. The message came at just the right time. And Stanton says Jared's story helped transformed Subway.
STANTON: I think he really helped Subway move into a position of being a dominant player in fast food.
AUBREY: Even before this latest trouble, Jared's profile had begun to take a bit of a backseat. Subway now has ad campaigns starring sports players and new menu items. So today, the brand is clearly bigger than the story of one guy who slimmed down. Allison Aubrey, NPR News.
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