50 Cent suing Taco Bell for ridiculous marketing campaign

Never let it be said that 50 Cent is a man of idle threats. Though he’s got some major legal drama going on with the mother of his son (the traditional child support/housing/visitation/arson stuff), he’s still a good enough multi-tasker to be able to sue more than one person at a time.

Last month Taco Bell royally pissed off Fiddy after they used him for a stupid publicity stunt – offering to donate $10,000 to the charity of his choice if he’d legally change his name to 79 Cent, 89 Cent, or 99 Cent – to correspond with the prices on their value menu.

They didn’t make the offer privately to him as a business deal, but through a publicly disseminated press release. It was clear that Taco Bell was just doing it for free press and using 50 Cent in the process. He was pretty pissed and threatened legal action – but for some reason I didn’t think he’d actually do it. Maybe because the whole thing was so stupid, and suing Taco Bell would just get them more of what they wanted – press. Though if Fiddy wins, that press sure won’t be free for the fast food chain.

50 Cent, whose real name is Curtis Jackson, accuses the Mexican-style fast food chain of “diluting the value of his good name” and employing a guerrilla advertising campaign to fool consumers into thinking he had endorsed the chain, said the lawsuit, filed in Manhattan federal court.

“Without seeking or obtaining Jackson’s authorization, defendant Taco Bell made him the star and focus of its nation-wide advertising campaign by using his name, persona and trademark to promote Taco Bell’s business and products,” court papers said. The lawsuit accuses the chain of disseminating a letter, addressed to 50 Cent, that encourages the rapper to change his name to “79 Cent,” “89 Cent” or “99 Cent,” the lawsuit said.

The letter was designed to promote the company’s “79-89-99 Cent Why Pay More” campaign, while avoiding the multimillion dollar fee the rapper might have charged to use his name, the lawsuit said. The letter was eventually sent to the rapper, but only after it had been circulated to reporters, the lawsuit said.

[From Yahoo! News]

The lawsuit also notes that customers believed that 50 Cent was in a partnership with Taco Bell, and he got a good deal of bad press for it on the internet. He was accused of selling out to a tacky fast food chain, and he believes his reputation was damaged as a result.

I have no idea why this relatively trivial thing bugged me so much, but it did. I really want 50 to sue the crap out of Taco Bell. Come to think of it, it bothers me because Taco Bell was just being cheap, and they were doing it under the guise of a good cause. They knew a famous rapper wouldn’t agree to change his name. It’s his brand – and no one knows more about branding than a fast food restaurant. They were trying to promote their own brand.

Instead of making Fiddy a legitimate offer (which would have been millions), they pretended they were good enough to donate a piddly $10,000 to charity. Ten grand is nothing to Taco Bell – their parent company owns KFC, Pepsi, etc. What they did was cheap and tacky, and I hope they lose a hell of a lot of money on it.

Here’s 50 Cent at the Vitamin Water ‘Celebrates in Style’ with The Best of Baseball and Music in New York on July 14th. Images thanks to WENN.

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13 Responses to “50 Cent suing Taco Bell for ridiculous marketing campaign”

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  1. bros says:

    fully agree jaybird. 10,000? thats ridiculous.

  2. Anon says:

    My theory is that everything about this is BS. 50 cent was in cahoots with Taco Bell from the beginning. The lawsuit will be “settled out of court for an undisclosed sum” and everybody will win. Taco Bell gets publicity for their new promotion. 50 cent gets to keep his street cred and make some money under the table.

    Bloggers everywhere are falling for it…promoting Taco Bell’s new deal and promoting 50 cent as some hard core guy. For Free

  3. elisha says:

    Totally with ya, JB. Taco Bell doesn’t exactly “ring” with class in the first place.

  4. CandyKay says:

    They did a funny promotion years ago where they said they were going to spend money to renovate the Liberty Bell and rename it the Taco Liberty Bell, and suggested that other corporations also adopt national monuments. It was an April Fool’s joke.

  5. geronimo says:

    I like your theory, Anon, particularly the win-win bit…Taco Bell may be tacky but the parent company isn’t short of a few billion. And 50 Cent’s hardly above getting involved in something like this. Interesting…

  6. Jenna says:

    I agree with Anon. Completely.

    Also, 50 cent is no longer really in the media. Comes out with songs and they are not hits anymore. Bugs, here, needs to go away.

  7. Because I say So says:

    Why won’t he change his name to No-Cent and just be done with it? His popularity in the rap market is seriously down, and he doesn’t have Taco Bell to blame for that

  8. PD says:

    Under the table job, and he still looks tough to his possy. Ever notice these rappers travel in packs, kinda like street gangs.

  9. Simon Scowl says:

    Remember a few months back, when Dr. Pepper offered a free can of soda to everybody in the United States the day Guns N’ Roses’ Chinese Democracy album finally comes out? And Axl Rose sent out that press release basically joking about it and sort of gently mocking them? And that was AXL ROSE.

  10. AreYouDumb? says:

    Are you retarded, Anon? While that is possible it isn’t very likely. And to say something like “..promoting 50 Cent as some hard core guy” is equally retarded. I don’t personally dig 50 Cent, but I’d have to say that cat is pretty hardcore and comes from hardcore stuff.

    Later, Corky.

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  12. /Jent says:

    So why doont he ask them to change name to Taco bad? and if they do he will donate $10,000 to a charity of their choosing? :)

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