Pepsi’s marketing gurus have been appealing to consumers through music seemingly for eons. Much of that perception is due to the success the soda maker has had in tying its name to the King of Pop, Michael Jackson. Even after the guy’s been laid to rest for more than three years, and earning more than ever, Pepsi is still celebrating its legendary association with the performer.
Back in May, Pepsi announced its deal with the Michael Jackson estate and Sony Music to an exclusive global marketing partnership that included featuring the Gloved One on a billion limited edition Pepsi cans released around the world, starting in China.
As part of its music-based global "Live for Now" platform, the Pepsi brand is reminding consumers that it's been 25 years since Jackson's iconic Bad album was released — an anniversary that director Spike Lee is marking with a documentary, and which Pepsi celebrated in late August in a concert with Billboard and singer Ne-Yo, who performed such hits as Closer from the album, which was released on Aug. 31, 1987.
Memorably, Pepsi sponsored Jackson's Bad world tour back in 1988, after having such success with Jackson and his brothers in the “New Generation” ads of 1983. Even more memorably, Pepsi and Jackson both got plenty of free publicity in ’84, when Jackson’s hair was accidently set on fire during the filming of a Pepsi commercial. Now Pepsi is rolling out the next phase in its Jackson 2012 tie-in, with a 15-second tribute debuting this evening to continue its 25th anniversary tribute to Bad, as Ad Age reports.
If the Bad album anniversary was Aug. 31, why all the fuss now? Sept. 18 is the worldwide release date of the BAD25 deluxe collectors' edition album/DVD box set, so Pepsi's new commercial will run tonight during BET’s two-hour special, BAD25: The Short Films of Michael Jackson, as well as on the Pepsi-sponsored The X Factor on FOX. The new commercial features a kaleidoscope of images of Michael dancing, paired with the BAD remix by Afrojack, and will make older viewers feel nostalgic for the Pepsi/MJ spots they grew up with.
Jackson, of course, still strikes a chord all over the world. Witness the hallucinogenic commercial that ran in China earlier this year, which uses Bad as a soundtrack while a dancer impersonates the legendary performer. At the end of the heavenly ode, the Pepsi logo morphs into a silhouette of one of Jackson's signature moves by going up onto his toes. Thanks to Pepsi, the Jackson Estate, Sony and millions of fans worldwide, the King of Pop is bigger than life, or death.