Eddie Huang didn’t see himself as a likely candidate to be an underwear model.
“My manager told me, ‘They want to put billboards of your husky ass in their underwear,’ ” says the chef and food personality in a new video. “I couldn’t believe it.”
Nonetheless, Huang is gracing a series of ads for online skivvies seller MeUndies, as a part of his “Pandamonium” collaboration with the subscription-based retailer—featuring panda-print intimates for men and women, playing on his own branding as “The Human Panda.”
It’s a simple pitch, created with Los Angeles shop Where It’s Greater. While essentially a celebrity endorsement, it actually turns on Huang’s offbeat charisma. In the stills, he lounges comfortably in a luxurious robe, slippers and boxer briefs. But also goofs around.
The real highlight of the campaign, though, is a behind-the-scenes clip showcasing Huang’s easygoing manner. A solid dose of social awareness doesn’t hurt either. It makes sense to play up the fact that he (and implicitly, most people) don’t look like Ken-doll body builders.
That’s a refreshing departure from the likes of, say, a tediously self-serious Calvin Klein campaign featuring Justin Bieber. But it’s also more compellingly personal, direct and honest than, say, Kevin Hart’s try-hard (if passable) gags for Tommy John.
It’s a perfectly relaxed fit for MeUndies, which positions itself as “the world’s most comfortable underwear.” And in the end, Huang still offhandedly boils down the message to its most essential core—what every guy wants from his underwear. “And you know,” he says, “my balls feel fantastic.”
For more gems of wisdom, and perspective on the psychological hurdles of creating it, check out Huang’s interview about the campaign with Esquire.