Open Letter To Nelly: ‘Who’s Pimping Who?’

Erin Patton, President & CEO of The Mastermind Group, sent an open letter to Nelly after hearing the good news about his new energy drink product, but the bad news about the product’s name ‘Pimp Juice’. Patton writes, “I immediately thought about a segment I saw on BET’s NYLA a few months back when one of your representatives was interviewed for a story on urban marketing and addressed their marketing strategy for you and it began to make sense. I say that because, although he seemed to be a fairly smart guy, he clearly wasn’t a product of the core urban culture or the negative byproducts of the ‘blaxsploitation’ era years ago. I realize that you were also probably too young at the time to remember but Hollywood had a good time portraying black folks as ‘Pimps and Ho’s.’ And there were many blacks who were bamboozled into projecting that stereotype for the dough (by the way, if you haven’t seen the Spike Lee joint Bamboozled, now might be a good time). What’s the big deal you ask? After all, urban culture is pretty pimped out right now with 50 Cent, , Lil’ Flip and Snoop all hollering P.I.M.P. while Bishop Don Juan has somehow emerged as an icon for our youth to aspire to. Well, dirty, while starting an energy drink with the name of ‘Pimp Juice’ may sound like a good idea given your hit single by that name and the current pimping of the urban culture by the mainstream, this is a case where a good idea is meeting terrible execution. The problem is, while you and your partners may make some ends off of this deal for the Nelly ‘brand,’ your ‘Pimp Juice’ product is producing a damaging effect on the overall urban and African-American brands that will ultimately pay the price on its image. You see, I don’t know if your marketing strategists explained this to you or not, but all brands have what is known as core values and perceptions.” Read more.

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