The Nelk Boys

GM! It's Tuesday, March 21st - Today, we're covering The Nelk Boys - a team of YouTubers that turned a prank video of them selling coke to cops into a $100M/yr revenue business.

- Callum


Nelk Boys - Building A $100M/yr Empire

In 2015, The Nelk Boys blew up on YouTube after selling Coke to cops on the streets of Los Angeles.

Since then, their viral prank videos involving elaborate pranks, crazy parties, or star member Steve WillDoIt chugging an entire bottle of liquor have generated 1.35B views on Youtube.

It turns out, they'd built the perfect funnel to attract 20-35-year-old men and sell them their frat-inspired clothing line and hard seltzer called Happy Dad.

Generating $100M+ In Revenue...

  • Happy Dad sold over a million cases in its first year, generating approximately $20M in revenue.

How Does The Machine Work?

The Nelk Brand is comprised of 3 different companies - each playing a critical role in the Nelk empire.

  • Full Send: Home to Nelk’s signature content - pranks, partying, and clothing merch.

  • Shots Podcast Network: Umbrella company that hosts Nelk’s various podcasts such as The Pivot, Money Buys Happiness, and the Steve WillDoIt Show.

  • Happy Dad: Nelk’s hard-seltzer brand caters to their young male audience with the tagline “No more skinny can b*llshit.” Happy Dad has plans to expand into other food and beverage areas.

Nelk produces a wide variety of content, whether it's prank videos, interviews with Elon Musk and Donald Trump, or members of The Pivot sitting down to talk to NFL stars. One thing stays true to all of this content– Happy Dad and Nelk merch are prominently featured in every shot.

Nelk’s audience is 80-90% male and their products are designed for men, so every viral video turns into targeted advertisements for their hard seltzer brand, hoodies, t-shirts, and hats.

What's The Secret Sauce?

The Nelk boys do have a secret sauce - it's called shock value. Their pranks routinely lead to one of the cast members getting arrested. For example,

Turn Weakness Into Strength

YouTube Demonetization: Nelk used to be like other YouTubers who made their money off of monetized videos, but all of their YouTube channels were demonetized in 2020 after posting videos of them partying and violating Covid-19 safety regulations (they have since regained monetization).

However, Nelk partner John Shahidi believes, “demonetization became our biggest blessing” as it forced them to innovate and find other income avenues that turned out to be much more profitable.

By turning their simple merch store into an entire lifestyle brand in 2020, they generated enough revenue to fund Happy Dad.

Permanent Ban From YouTube: The Nelk Boys encountered another big obstacle in August of 2022 when Steve WillDoIt was permanently banned from YouTube due to his crude comedic takes and gambling videos. Because of the ban, any YouTube video with Steve in it is taken off the platform.

While Steve is now excluded from a lot of Nelk content, it has allowed their brand to become popularized on the YouTube alternative, Rumble. Steve made a deal to exclusively produce content on Rumble for an undisclosed amount. Rumble doesn’t have quite the reach of YouTube, but his latest video did hit 1.13M views, and of course, he’s wearing a Happy Dad t-shirt in it.

The Media Empire Playbook

  1. Pick a Platform & Find Your Viral Formula: It's not easy to build an initial audience, but there's a clear recipe used by top YouTubers like Dude Perfect, MrBeast, and David Dobrick - Use shock value to entertain an audience through a series of games, challenges, stunts, and pranks.

  2. Go Multi-Platform: Once you've cracked the code on one platform (e.g YouTube), use this audience as leverage to build reach across other scalable media platforms like Podcasts, TikTok, and Instagram. is the Nelk boys podcast network.

  3. Monetize Your Distribution: Take the culture of your videos and create products that embody it - These include clothing, Physical products like Happy Dad or Steve WillDoIt’s beer boot.

  4. Scale With Partnerships: Partner with celebrities to hit markets that you don’t have access to – for example, Snoop Dogg recently partnered with Happy Dad after asking The Nelk Boys how they plan to tap into the black community.