A willing suspension of disbelief (about butter)

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"And the weenuh ees..."

If you're wondering what could possibly cause more than one hundred women to sit in Madison Square Park for an hour in the rain, Adages has found the answer: the cover boy for cheesy romance novels, hunky soap opera stars and fake butter. It's the perfect combination, really.

I Can't Believe It's Not Butter is trading in the pecs and flowing hair that put it on the map. Yes, Fabio is leaving the brand after 10 years, and he will be replaced by soap opera star Greg Vaughan. Several other soap stars duked it out for the honor of being the Italian stallion's successor, but Vaughan wooed those women and will reign as the king of fake butter. (Seriously, there was a crown.)

What we can only assume were male models made the rounds wearing tuxedos and butter-colored bow ties, passing out samples and giving the female members of the crowd a little more incentive to tough it out through the rain.

The audience was actually pretty passionate about the competition. Several brought signs supporting Ricky Paull Goldin that read, "RPG: Believe it." Well, believing just didn't cut it for Ricky Paull.

The stars pretended to woo (read: hit on) women from the audience and answered questions, and the festivities all culminated in that final moment when Fabio, in his charming, barely-understandable accent, announced the winner.

And, just for the record, we actually can believe it's not butter (even now, with twice the sweet cream buttermilk).

Raising an empty glass for Level

Adages was among the beautiful people at a recent photo shoot for Level vodka's new campaign, due to hit magazines and subway cars in August. The 2-year-old spirit (hardly old enough to drink itself) is a super-premium vodka sired by Absolut and already rebelling against its parent's advertising precedent. Jeffrey Moran, director of public relations and events for Absolut, was excited to announce a departure from bottle-focused adverts to the "expression of the experience." TBWA Creative Director Rob Smiley was on hand and wearing the pants at the shoot, multi-colored stripy pants at that ("When you are the creative director," we were told, "you can wear the stripy pants"). Photographer Michael Brandt, known for his super-tight beauty shots for Maybelline, M.A.C. and Vidal Sassoon, was tasked with pulling in close on four models expressing the anticipation of a sip of Level. Sadly, while we anticipated our own sip, no samples of said vodka were to be found. However, if the Cate Blanchette look-alike is anything to go by, the ads promise to be a breathtaking experience.

Competition for Baby Brangelina

Baby Brangelina wasn't the only photo driving Web traffic recently. While Gawker was sticking its tongue out at Time Inc. and Hello, while the latter two were threatening to sue over photos of little Shiloh Nouvel Jolie-Pitt, the folks at Salt Water Sportsman were happy to report that their own series of exclusive photos was driving Web traffic through the roof. On May 25, a Florida fisherman hooked a world-record hammerhead shark. As luck would have it Joe Cermele, a Salt Water Sportsman editorial assistant, was in the area on a press trip and was able to snap some pretty cool photos of the battle-the only photos of the shark while it was being caught.

Saltwatersporstman.com has had nearly 1 million page views of the hammerhead photos since posting them. Look at it this way: You know what a baby human looks like, and it's a safe assumption that the spawn of Brangelina will be cute. But how often do you get a chance to see a guy reeling in a 1,280 pound shark? Not often, that's how often. Call us knuckle-dragging he-men, but we find the shark photos much more interesting. (And we don't have to contemplate those sad letters to the editor congratulating Brad and Angelina for reproducing.)

Panasonic effort, PETA approved

In other animal news, we're sure you've read about Panasonic's bunny-neutering effort (see The Week, P. 14). The "Neuter Your Bunny" public-service campaign not only is a sly jab at the Energizer Bunny, but it's also an actual bunny-neutering program. The campaign includes a Web site, neuteryourbunny.com, a "Neuter Your Bunny" van and an upcoming TV commercial. A "Neuter Your Bunny Day" is planned for June 14, when the Center for Avian and Exotic Medicine in Manhattan will provide free bunny neuters for selected owners. In addition, Panasonic will donate $10,000 to the House Rabbit Society. Feeling a little confused about this (and about delighting in shark killing), Adages contacted Ingrid Newkirk, cofounder and president of PETA, to ask for her take. She was kind enough to write back.

"Rabbits breed like, well you know, and so the choice, if you have a house rabbit (or some rabbits kept in an outdoor prison hutch staring out for a lifetime-usually cut short by weather, dogs or loneliness) is to a) have the fellas fixed, b) have a solitary Mr. Bun who can't concentrate on his carrots because he's going out of his mind wanting an (unavailable) Ms. Bunny or c) find yourself with a boatload of bunnies for whom there are never enough good homes to go around. This is a clever and helpful stunt."

PETA apparently has its own SNIPmobile and Newkirk says they're big fans of the House Rabbit Society.

So the Energizer Bunny should totally cut Panasonic some slack on this one.

Contributing: Brooke Capps, Bonnie Thompson Send your baby photos to kwheaton@crain.com
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