In Madison Square Park the other day, in heavy rain, Harlequin heartthrob Fabio presided over a peculiar press event; a competition that pitted three soap stars in a quest to become the new spokeshunk of I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter.
Four judges, under a small tent, crowned Greg Vaughan, of General Hospital, the new margarine king. Their decision was based on the enthusiasm of the large crowd; the audience was composed mainly of soap-obsessed out-of-towners dressed in yellow ponchos.
Won’t it be upsetting if new spokesmodel
Greg Vaughan later comes to think
it actually is butter?
As the contest wound down, Fabio and some I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter executives remained on stage holding on—if only for a few final moments—to the glorious past.
“What makes Fabio special,” said an ICBINB VP, “is that he is really part of the family, he is a true champion of the brand and that makes a huge difference in the relationship that we’ve had—it’s a different relationship ship than you have with many top celebrities.”
Fabio returned the love: “For me it’s easy because I believe in the product. You know, so it’s easy. When you believe in something it’s easy to promote. And my parents,” he said, smiling broadly, “are the biggest, you know, user of the product. Every time—and they got every people in Italy addicted, okay?—every time they come, they at least bring back 200 tubs to Italy.”
“You might want to mention that one on Letterman,” the VP said.
Fabio had large calluses on his hands. Why?
“You know what, this is more for lifting. I used to use gloves, and you know gloves, after a while, you use it you have to wash it, and you always forget it, to put it back in your gym bag,” he said. He nodded at the executives as if to say, ‘You know what I’m talking about.’
“So when you go back to the gym,” Fabio said, “and you have to start from point zero because your hands don’t have the calluses. And gloves after a while, they fall apart. And so I decide no, no. No more gloves, just bare handed, so that way it doesn’t matter if I have the gloves or not the gloves.”
Later Fabio and Mr. Vaughan posed for a photo. “He is and always will be a role model and I look to him for guidance,” said Mr. Vaughan.
“He likes motorcycles,” said Fabio, clapping a large arm around his smaller successor.
“We’re gonna go riding motorcycles,” said Mr. Vaughan, “so that’s even better.”