Friday, 26 April 2013

The Success Of Pimp My Ride

It seems such a simple, limited concept, you wouldn't imagine that it could spawn so many imitators and yet the MTV programme Pimp My Ride has been such an enormous success that the name is well known worldwide.
If you've never seen the show, the original was based in Los Angeles and presented by rapper, Xzibit, although occasionally there were guest presenters, such as Chamillionaire. Each episode starts with a young car owner showing off their car - their 'ride' - and then making a case for it being 'pimped'. After this, Xzibit turns up, slags off the vehicle and then explains a few of the things they're going to do with it. It then goes to a body shop which adds alloy wheels and everything else. Sometimes the entire engine is replaced and bodywork is frequently altered or changed in some major way.
Most cars receive a spoiler, LED headlights, new tyres and a new sound system, but there is really no limit as to what can be done to a car during the pimping process. Apparently, the work typically takes about 12 days, after which the car is returned to the owner who is invariably blown away by the transformation.
That's it. There's little more to the show than that and yet the original ran to 73 episodes and there have been many other versions, such as Pimp My Ride UK which was hosted by DJ Tim Westwood. There have also been versions everywhere from Canada to Brazil to Iran.
A lot of the appeal derives from the humour of the presenter. Westwood's presentation style seems to be particularly tongue in cheek, although you can never really tell with him. It's also the case that people simply love seeing cars being transformed. While many of the touches are clearly jokes, there is also a degree of seriousness in how many cars are made to look more desirable. You wouldn't put a bowling ball spinner put in the back of your car, as happened in one episode, but you might well change wheels, tyres or headlights and many people add spoilers or similar things.
Pimp My Ride became so amazingly popular that there is even a videogame version. Released in 2006 on multiple formats, it asks the player to redesign cars for clients, trying to capture their interests in the process. Unlike the TV programme, it wasn't particularly well received and may be an example of an attempt to cash in on a show's popularity without any clear idea how to create a viable game. That said, most versions of the games simply ran badly - often indicative of a rushed release - rather than being considered to be particularly poor in terms of gameplay.
But the Pimp My Ride brand remains strong - so strong in fact that even a universally criticised game bore a sequel. Pimp My Ride: Street Racing didn't fare much better with reviewers but that clearly doesn't seem to matter. The programme's popularity is such that offshoots and imitations continue almost a decade after it first appeared on screen.

Mike Walters pimped his ride in a relatively low key manner with help from products sourced at Race and Road.