Eyal Feldman has fond memories from the time he was banned. Five years ago, Comcast blocked an ad for his lube company, Boy Butter, from airing in Chicago, because the cable giant apparently deemed the image of a shirtless man churning butter to be too risqué for Boystown.
It was the best publicity Boy Butter ever received. Feldman pleaded his case via blog post, appropriately titled “The Buttered Topping,” and went on a press blitz. One week later, Comcast reversed its puritan-like ruling.
Feldman hasn’t received any problems since, but not for lack of effort.
“Every time I just go a little bit further, and push the envelope a little bit more,” he said on my podcast, “The Sports Kiki.”
Mission accomplished. The company’s latest ad, “Boy Butter in Malibu,” features two shirtless hunks chasing each other up from the rocky shoreline.
It’s sexy. It’s beautiful. It’s men.
The aid airs on ESPN, in all of its gay glory. Earlier this fall, it ran on an NFL Network replay for “Thursday Night Football.”
Feldman says he’s preparing a new campaign that will air on ESPN, NFL Network and FOX Sports.
Yes, that FOX.
Boy Butter is reaching a much more diverse audience now than when it was solely advertising on “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” It’s been a boon for business.
“I used to think, ‘‘Am I limiting myself with where I’m advertising?,’” said Feldman. “Am I staying in my safe space? But no, I can be anywhere. Just the name alone, it’s so subversive, that when it’s seen, and spoken of, you can’t help but chuckle, and think.”
Feldman got the idea for Boy Butter, a name he always thought would be great for a lube company, during a post-9/11 stint in Europe, in which he played water polo in Spain and became fluent in Spanish. His personal accomplishments boosted his confidence, and made him realize he could create whatever reality for himself that he wanted.
He decided to go into business promoting a product he loves. After landing back in New York, Feldman resumed his job with NASTY PIG, the seductive men’s clothing line that sells gear and leatherwear. Simultaneously, he started Boy Butter as a side hustle.
When stores started buying, Feldman went all-in. He moved back to his parents’ house at 24 years old ... as a thirsty young gay living in New York City.
That’s hard to do. He became really, really dedicated to his company.
“It’s not lube, though sex is the second-most important drive after feeding yourself,” said Feldman. “It’s an important part of our lives. I look at it as a brand, whether it’s shampoo or moisturizer or toothpaste, or hair gel.”
While that may be true, there’s an unapologetic sexual feel to Boy Butter’s ads. Feldman views his campaigns as art, just like those sultry black-and-white fashion ads from the 90s.
“Looking at men, as a gay man, I really do see the beauty of men,” he said. “People really respond well to beautiful men. They always have — and beautiful women, I don’t want to leave them out. But beautiful people.”
A lifelong athlete, Feldman views sports fans of all stripes as the perfect audience for his hunky models. Feldman was a college swimmer and has competed twice in the Gay Games, most recently for the Netherlands during the 2002 games in Sydney, Australia.
He knows that sports and masculinity go hand-in-hand.
The toxic traits about masculinity are often highlighted (and rightfully so). But there’s beauty in it, too.
That’s what Feldman wants to show.
“In every ancient story, you have these giant, beautiful men,” he said. “You can go to Rome and see them everywhere, big muscly, beautiful men in statues. That’s what they hold up in sports.”
The lack of outrage indicates that Feldman may be onto something. He hasn’t received any complaints from ESPN or other sports networks.
They like what they see.
“I think that even though it has a gay slant to it, it doesn’t make it any less masculine,” he said. “People love it.”