50 Cent Sues Philly Car Dealership, Riff Raff Intervenes
KING OF THE PARKING LOT
More on the 50 Cent vs. Philly Car Dealership Dealee
Just a late-night shorty: By now you've heard about 50 Cent going after a Philadelphia area car dealership for what his legal team claims was unlawful use of 50's name and image. Gary Barbera Enterprises--who really do have the car game on lock back in the 215 (everybody buys at least one minivan off these guys, or at least considers stealing one)--stuck Mr. Cent's buh face next to ads for the Dodge Magnum, which Cent rode in The Game's "How We Do" video. Next to the face was the caption "Just like 50 says!", which newspapers and websites alike have enjoyed quoting as if its sense is the self-manifesting kind.
What did 50 say though, and how did he say it?
Your boy Riff Raff knows the marketing directors of every car dealership in America, so getting Gary Barbera's Eric Gerstein posed less of a problem than you might think. Gerstein explains the situation in an email sent Monday:
In March and April of this year Gary Barbera's #1 Dodgeland participated in a promotion conducted by WRDW (Wired 96.5). The grand prize was to be a Dodge Magnum, provided by us. As part of their promotion WRDW (Wired 96.5) got rapper 50cent [sic] to record a promotional announcement for the station and their giveaway. The station forwarded the drop to us to use for their promotion in the giveaway ads. As soon as we were contacted by the representatives for 50cent (in May of 2005) we responded immediately with he exact same explanation and gave them the exact same recording you have attached in this e-mail. We heard absolutely nothing from them and thought the matter was closed, until today. We truly do live in interesting times.
Exclusive Download: "50 Cent's Gary Barbera Drop on WRDW 96.5" (Courtesy of Eric Gerstein)
I've had this on loop for hours now. According to my grandmother and Philly-residing high school friends Assman, Crazy Carl, and Jake the Snake, the radio spot was on all the time, a point of discussion and imitation on morning talk shows, at dinner tables, and around the water cooler. I can't find hard evidence, so you're gonna have to trust Jake the Snake on this one.
Not to exonerate, but in other words the ad expected at least some familiarity with the fact that Philadelphia knew about the radio spot. The Gary Barbera newspaper ads are merely reporting a fact of the matter--50 supported the dealership in the Dodge Magnum context in the past.
I'm no lawyer, neither is Gerstein, but according to him, he's worked for 30 years on celebrity testimonials for Gary Barbera cars and car giveaways, etc.., including city mayors and state governors, and never ran into any trouble like this. And when 50's reps contacted him in May, they didn't order a cease and desist, just filed an inquiry.
For what it's worth, Gerstein adds this: "You know what they say. When it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and walks like a duck, it's a duck. I'm pretty sure we have a duck on our hands."
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