[written January 29, 2002]
It pays to read between the lines when it comes to investigative journalism.
Take, for instance, the emergence of the super sensation, Jared Fogle, the fat guy turned sort of slimmer guy who's still ugly but is still talked about at water coolers all over America.
Where did this up-and-comer come from? How would this guy achieve a nationwide television ad personality in the cutthroat world of Carrot Tops and Terry Bradshaws? How would a tiny little chain that appealed to hippies and vegetarians come to challenge the unstoppable force of fast fried food?
Well, I'll tell you why. Subway had its heart set on ambition and desire, no matter what the cost. And at the top of this tyrannical, anarchical organization was one man: yes, Jared Fogle.
Don't be fooled by whom Subway names as its CEO. Underneath the veneer of corporate niceties and benevolence lies a secret shadow board of chairmen headed by Mr. Fogle. His dreams were never small, his mind too selfish to just try to carve out a niche in a brutal rural fast food environment in some podunk hamlet. In his dreams at night, he imagined airborne veggie delites ramming into golden arches, or a disciplined army of ubersoldiers crushing the crown of the Burger King under jackboot.
Not long after, Mr. Fogle sought to put his dreams to reality. In order to do this, he would have to break the spirit of the American people. Point out their flaws, eliminate their sources of happiness, suggest Subway as the only alternative to their unhappy, useless existences.
Enter Dave Thomas. The honest, blue collar high school dropout who named his humble restaurant chain after his delightful daughter, Wendy. For years he would star in his own company's commercials, unashamed of his grey curly locks and paunch belly. He would become the nice guy who owned a massive empire of frosty-sluicing, baked potato selling Wendy's franchises. He'd be there when you went through the drive-in. He'd be at the football game with his favorite Wendy's burger. He was everything Jack from Jack in the Box always wanted to be. (but never could, hence Jack's bitter and sarcastic disposition) He had what Mr. Fogle knew would keep Subway from becoming a major player.
Dave Thomas, blue-collar good
guy with a Frosty-flavored heart!
At some point a few months back, Mr. Fogle put into action a sweeping plan headlining a nationwide ad campaign featuring himself. Playing off of a double-chin to Greek god story created by someone in his marketing department, Jared produced a line of commercials coming off as the fat guy who received a vision from the Heavens to only eat Subway. Hah, only the American public would be stupid enough to believe someone could lose 250 pounds eating commercial fast food!
Jared Fogle, with the
face of unspeakable evil.
These commercials would play day and night, over and over, burning themselves into the minds of lazy Americans everywhere. They would play off the national fattening of America, convincing people that maybe they could lose their weight if they just succumbed to Subway and its salvation of deli sandwiches. Give us a few bucks and you'll become thin! We promise! Mr. Fogle had planted his seed.
But Mr. Fogle did not count on a Jared backlash from the American public. At first the song was cute and the notion of a regular schmoe becoming famously slim was novel. But then the public turned and Jared was the laughing stock everywhere. Ha ha, look at that dumb fuck. Who does he think he is? He's still fat and ugly! The public was harsh and cruel. Mr. Fogle did not take this insurrection well.
Thumbing through the latest sales figures comparing all the fast food chains with each other, Mr. Fogle noted that he was not gaining much ground on his competitors. People wanted their fatty food and they wanted people to tell them that it was okay. Mr. Fogle might have thought Dave Thomas to be a harmless, adorable figurehead one day, but the next day, he saw him as a lying cheat who was deceiving people with his likeable personality. And Wendy's ads came with more frequency and with more new versions than Mr. Fogle's Subway ads did.
Dave Thomas would have to be stopped.
But Mr. Fogle knew that he would have to treat this situation delicately. Cramming garden fresh slices of tomatoes down Dave's throat until he died would hardly be subtle. Nor would suffocating him with a Subway baggie. He was running out of ideas.
Then he came up with an ingenious plan. He had a closet full of over-sized pants that he could use to strangle Mr. Thomas without leaving any overt evidence. Mr. Thomas' battle with liver cancer would provide a convenient scapegoat to Jared's dastardly deed.
Whereas Dave Thomas's death would be the spearhead of his assault, Mr. Fogle prepared the rest of his weapon before going after the Wendy's mogul. He knew that his Jared character was tarnished for good, and, seizing, in the aftermath of 9/11, on the newfound American appreciation for firefighters, strong, robust, tightly built, nice-assed men in the prime of their sexual lives (Jared would have to stop himself from thinking too much about this), culled a recruit Clay Henry from his secret army of biologically engineered men who'd been fed protein- and steroid-infused Subway food from birth. Once again the public would believe a made-up name like Clay Henry, as well as a story about a fatty turned superbuff firefighter. Suuuuure. Besides, Clay Henry was an obvious play on the name Henry Clay, the famous American politician who was slighted by a political party he brought to power by refusing to elect him their presidential candidate. This was a figure Mr. Fogle and his quest to achieve fast food kingship could identify with.
Henry Clay, one of the country's first
bitter, snubbed power players.
And thus Clay Henry was introduced to the world. In fast-action commercials of proud, patriotic firemen marching off to work to a military cadence, Clay's veins gorged with healthy, pound-shedding Subway food. Clay Henry would become Jared's torch-bearer. Mr. Fogle still was monomaniacal enough to demand guest spots in Clay's commercials. His ego could not take the lack of attention.
The message of these ads, which showed repeatedly right after each other for weeks and weeks, was that if you want to be a real man, patriotic for your country and in good shape so that girls like you, you must eat Subway food and not go to those other greasy "burgers and fries" joints. Mr. Fogle had stepped up his campaign even more. Subway ads have now become inescapable. Subway ad after Subway ad. Sometimes back-to-back in the 3 minute commercial break rotations. The clarion call of the firehouse bell followed by manly chants of "He's Henry, Clay Henry" that so closely resemble the comrade songs of the Red Army during the Cold War.
This plague was unleashed upon the world. And when the ad campaign reached a crescendo, at the height of the public's susceptibility towards choosing a new fast food place to eat, Dave Thomas was eliminated. No one suspected a thing, as this report clearly shows.
And that's where we stand now. Mr. Fogle is at this very moment indoctrinating the people of America with his perfect specimen Clay Henry as his vehicle of madness.
And this is when it all caught my attention. The timing was just too strange. I looked into the matter, read some articles, and came across this:
Of course! This wasn't Mr. Fogle's first attempt to invade the fast food industry! The old koots, as I would later find Jared referred to them as, Redenbacher and Colonel Sanders, were his first victims. Jared obviously started small, knocking off a prominent figure in the microwave popcorn industry instead of going after the big boys in fast food. And KFC was a minor player itself, so he offed the Colonel without anyone noticing. Hell, the bloody bastards just use a cartoon version of that Southern hick anyway, Mr. Fogle noted to himself.
So where does this leave us now? Mr. Fogle is becoming more and more audacious in his plans to monopolize the industry. I think other companies are aware of what Subway is up to, with McDonald's being the most concerned. They are the top gun, the main target. And they have already hesitated:
Obviously a desperation move. McDonald's is feeling the heat in America so it's trying to make inroads in a hostile France. You know when you suck up to the French for something that you're on the ropes. McDonald's is scared and Ronald McDonald is likely hiding in a secret bunker in the Alps in France. Mr. Fogle has them terrorized.
So just keep this all in mind when you take a hard look at television commercials and where you eat for your fast food. There's a coup d'etat under way and it's important we understand who's involved and who seeks to make good out of all this.
Beware, Jared. Beware. We are on to you, you and your engineered Clay Henry super children.