by Christian Duque
Jay Cutler is the quintessential businessman in the sport of bodybuilding. He always has been. Even when he wasn’t Mr Olympia and he was taking second places to Ronnie Coleman he was still believed to be the top earning professional athlete in physique-based sports. He was a wiz when it came to negotiating the best contracts and making sure that everyone he worked with was beyond satisfied. This wasn’t limited to just supplement companies, but also to food-based products, accessories, and clothing lines.
Take his work with YoungLA. This is a brand for young guys who mostly look like Men’s Physique competitors. The line used to be a favorite for college gymrats and those adhering to the beach body look. And out of nowhere, Jay Cutler emerged in his late 40’s rockin their threads, and you know what? Nobody thought anything of it. This is because Jay probably presented them with some factors they couldn’t walk away from. He’s got a giant social media following, he’s a 4x Mr. Olympia, and he has an international fanbase that could care less how old he currently is. What they care about is supporting what Jay believes in because Jay has never sold out.
Cutler was the underdog’s bodybuilder for many years. He never quit or cried politics. He never elbowed it out with his fellow competitors or walked off stage mid ceremony. Jay and Ronnie had a great rivalry and even when Ronnie sort of snubbed him by calling Victor Martinez the heir to his throne, Jay just brushed it off and kept working. He earned everyone’s respect, including Ronnie’s.
Let’s face it, bodybuilders are not considered to be amongst the brightest bulbs in the pack. They are seen as narcissists, they are seen as arrogant, and they are seen as people more concerned with their outward appearance than planning ahead.
There is some truth to that. I have to admit it. Over the years I have come into contact with some of the best bodybuilders in the world. And I must say that even when they are on top they don’t have anything in terms of savings or investments. If their run all of a sudden ended tomorrow they would have nothing.
Countless former great bodybuilders have succumbed to living in homeless shelters, in their cars, or couchsurfing from friend’s apartment to friend’s apartment. That being said, Jay Cutler gave every bodybuilder and physique-based athlete the blueprint back in the early 2000s. He was someone that was constantly working on his future. He always had business on the brain. Whether that meant buying up real estate, landing big contracts, or using his prize money as a nestegg for the future. So many guys burn through their winnings and their contract earnings just because they want to live large. You can’t live for the moment and plan for the future, or can you?
I will tell you that Cutler enjoyed his run. It’s not like he was sitting around counting his money and putting it into shoeboxes. He had the nice house, the cars, and lived the life, but he was responsible.
The fact Cutler was on ABC’s Shark Tank is no surprise to me. If you’ve had a chance to watch the pitch, the 4x Mr. Olympia gave a great presentation with his business partner. The champ emerged with his two little dogs and they hit the ground running.
Bodybuilding is a very pet friendly sport. For many competitors the iron game is quite the time consuming endeavor. Many lack the time, much less the interest in having a significant other. The vast majority, however, have a pet and that’s usually a dog. Cats are cool and all, but dogs you can take out for walks and walking is cardio, right? You can burn calories and hang with man or woman’s best friend. And most bodybuilders don’t just have one dog, they might have two, three, or more. But dog food gets boring after a while. Our four legged friends live for table food. Some beg, others seem disinterested, but they all want what they can’t have.
Peanut butter is probably one forbidden pleasure most animals gravitate towards but one look at most nut butter ingredient labels and you can only wonder what it’s going to do to your pup’s insides. It’s crazy that we humans eat that stuff, but dogs will get super sick.
Jay’s Pet Butter solves that issue by making a dog-friendly product that allows a dog to enjoy a guilty pleasure without getting sick everywhere. Much like their pitch went, this is a product that could be given as a treat, maybe as a distraction during baths, or maybe as a way to give dog’s their medication.
Pups, just like children, hate taking meds. If the vet prescribes a pill and there’s just no way to get your dog to ingest it, reach for Jay’s Pet Butter. The most convincing testimonial of all is seeing the dogs lick this stuff right up. And watching Jay finish off the spoon after his dog had a taste seals the deal. Of course the sharks were grossed out, but I think they secretly loved what a dog person Jay is.
You have to do what you love. I’m a religious viewer of the show and so many times what gets the cast going is when you have an entrepreneur that’s all about their product. They know everything about the ins-and-outs and they love promoting it. Jay put his cards on the table. The Sharks got to see his bodybuilding shots and learn about him as a 4x Mr. Olympia, but he focused on the product and why it was so important to get it to the pet world. Their ask was also very reasonable. Jay and his partner asked for $50k for 10% which is pretty reasonable considering what some entrepreneurs go in there asking. Some will only give up 5% or less equity which usually pisses the Sharks off. They’ll always say, “that’s not enough to get out of bed for.”
I won’t tell you if Jay got a deal or not, but when it comes to being in The Tank it’s all about exposure. Just being on there is akin to the best commercial money can buy. The fact Jay licked the spoon after his dog is going to get him sales. The fact he held both dogs for the whole pitch and the pups were perfectly at home will get him sales. Then you look at the product branding, the color scheme, and the fact that his dog (like the dogs in the ads) couldn’t stop licking the product will equate to immediate sales. Personally, I would’ve gone with a catchier name but that’s just me. That being said, the name says it all. Jay’s Pet Butter is exactly what it is and if it’s good, the bells and whistles won’t matter as much.
We’d all like to congratulate Jay on always thinking outside the box. Plus, his presence on network television is exactly what will grow the sport. He gave great PR to the Mr. Olympia, to bodybuilding, and he was also able to promote his new business.
Great work champ!