COVINGTON, La. -- Retired Louisiana pharmacist George Boudreaux hasn't needed Madison Avenue pitchmen to get the word out about his concoction to treat diaper rash. He just lets the name do it for him.
Boudreaux's Butt Paste.
"Would you be talking to me if it was called George's Diaper Cream?" Boudreaux recently asked a reporter.
And a paste with any other name probably wouldn't have gotten attention from Oprah Winfrey, who featured Butt Paste on her show; ESPN, which, in a tongue-in-cheek feature, suggested it was partially responsible for Louisiana State University's jock-itch-less championship football season; and from Jay Leno, who displayed a newspaper ad for Butt Paste on the "Tonight Show" - and said that he didn't want to know what it was used for.
It certainly wouldn't have created waves in auto racing circles, as Butt Paste has managed to do with its logo - a grinning baby covered by a blanket - adorning the car of NASCAR driver Kim Crosby with the product's full name across the rear bumper.
Boudreaux has a serious product - marketing techniques aside - in a diaper rash ointment that he began mixing in his Covington pharmacy in the 1970s, much to the delight of mothers who came as far away as New Orleans to buy it.
The product went nameless for several years until a woman took her baby, who had a bad diaper rash, to see Covington pediatrician Buddy Terral. Terral, the story goes, offered to write her a prescription.
"She said she was going down to George Boudreaux's store and have him whip up some of that butt paste," Boudreaux said.
The name stuck.
After selling his pharmacy in 1994, Boudreaux began widely marketing his product, with manufacturing done in Alabama. In July 2003, with major buyers lining up for Butt Paste, manufacturing was switched to the New Orleans plant of Dr. Tichenor's, the well-known Louisiana mouthwash-antiseptic.
Butt Paste is now stocked nationwide by Wal-Mart and Target stores and Walgreen's will be adding the product later this summer, Boudreaux said.
Boudreaux's privately held company - Boudreaux's Family Pharmacy d/b/a Boudreaux's Butt Paste - has exactly three employees, the inventor included. The company did just under $2 million in sales last year and projects $4.5 million to $5 million in 2004 - all with a product ranging in price from $3.99 for a one-ounce tub to $24.99 for a one-pound jar.
"My goal over the next three years is to do $12 million to $15 million," he said.
What's the secret? Boudreaux says he's using a variation of several formulas for diaper rash he learned as a pharmacy student, along with a dose of Peruvian balsam that he believes speeds up the healing process. The product is also being marketed as a salve for other woes, including chapped lips and skin, heat rashes and jock itch.
On the NASCAR Busch circuit, Boudreaux is one of several sponsors of Crosby, a middle school principal in Slidell, La., and longtime driver of just about any type of vehicle that can reach unholy speeds.
Last year at Talledega, Ala., Crosby's "butt car" gained as much attention as the eventual winner of the race. Considering that millions watch racing, Crosby and Boudreaux have been inundated with variations of "Butt Paste? What's that?"
"It's a joke at the track that if you put it on the rear end of the car, it'll go faster," Crosby said.
What's not a joke is the fact that millions of viewers watch auto racing - and more than a few already have taken notice of Crosby's sponsor, she said.
Over the long haul, Boudreaux says the product will prove itself to buyers, no matter what it's called.
"We have something that is very cost-effective and works very well," Boudreaux said.
But there aren't any plans to change the name.
"It's instant name recognition," Crosby said. "How can you forget the name 'Butt Paste?"'
On the Net:
Boudreaux's Butt Paste: http://www.buttpaste.com