“Can we do some funny ones laying down, like beefcake situations,” Eddie Huang, said offering up ideas for a MeUndies Inc. photo shoot that had the writer and restaurateur stripped down to underwear and a robe.
Huang, who gave himself the nickname “the human panda,” is the first endorsement contract for Culver City, Calif.-based MeUndies, which sells men’s and women’s underwear and loungewear.
“I feel like this could be a Carl’s Jr. commercial,” the host of Viceland’s “Huang’s World” said, rolling out one-liner after one-liner to the delight of a crew that couldn’t stop laughing from the time he sat down for a haircut just before the shoot began.
Huang and MeUndies will partner on a single underwear design, which is expected to launch next month. The two will then continue their relationship with Huang serving as brand ambassador, the specifics of which are still being worked out.
Huang, who describes himself as husky, would seem an unlikely underwear campaign face but that’s largely the point for MeUndies, which is looking to better craft its brand message to the market.
“I’ve never seen an Asian dude in an underwear campaign much less an overweight Asian dude … like myself, and so I think it’s pretty cool that they picked me for this and I’m definitely excited to rep for Asian men in America,” Huang said.
Huang’s currently juggling a number of projects that has him writing a pilot for a one-hour drama on HBO, along with a third book. His restaurant Baohaus recently opened a Los Angeles outpost, which Huang said is doing well, and season two of “Huang’s World” on Vice Media’s Viceland TV station is readying for its premiere.
The timing to link with MeUndies was right for Huang who said he recently went to a German fasting camp. Huang’s five-day fast, he said, taught him how to have a better relationship with food — no easy feat for someone who hosts a food travel show.
“I’ve called myself a fat person for a while and have been self-deprecating, but I’ve changed that and now I see myself as husky,” Huang said, adding he’s all about body positivity.
“It sends a very clear message to everybody that you don’t have to have a six-pack or be the typical underwear model to feel great about yourself,” said Stephanie Young, who heads up brand marketing at MeUndies, about the partnership with Huang.
While many brands have embraced the idea of featuring “real people” in their advertising — making that a marketing campaign on its own — this doesn’t represent an overhaul in who MeUndies casts for advertising.
“We’re not a brand to just say we’re not going to use somebody with a six-pack because somebody with a six-pack also has full rights to their own body,” Young said. “When we say inclusive, we have to mean inclusive. I think what we can do is open the door for somebody like an Eddie to come through in an underwear ad and what it does is broaden the [brand’s] direction.”
The video and stills shot this month will be pushed out across the MeUndies marketing channels, including billboards featuring Huang.