Michael Jackson and Pepsi

Michael Jackson had a long history with the drinks company PEPSI. They sponsored 2 of his tours, the Bad Tour and the Dangerous Tour from 1988 to 1992. His relationship with Pepsi actually started a few years earlier, with the “Jacksons”, in 1984 and a deal worth a reported $5 million, which was a record at the time! (pennies compared to today’s endorsement deals!). Monica Herrera goes into the business side in here article here, and it’s an interesting read:

No deal Coke Cola

The Jackson’s managers approached COKE COLA first …. they only offered $1 million, which was refused, so they were turned down. They saw it as a precision ethnic minority campaign rather than a worldwide smash.

Pepsi didn’t make the same mistake!

During the 80’s the rivalry was strong between the two drinks companies but Coke Cola were way ahead. Pepsi needed something fresh and they decided to go with “Pepsi – New Generation” and that Michael Jackson was the star of that generation. The plan worked and Pepsi’s sales soared.

It is very obvious that the Pepsi boss, Roger Enrico, was a fan just from looking at his press conferences in the early days.

Pepsi invested a lot of money into Michael Jackson’s commercials

We will look at all of these in depth tomorrow but Pepsi and Michael Jackson produced many commercials and literal short films. In fact the first was directed by Bob Geraldi, who directed “Beat it”

They even had Michael re record the song with Pepsi lyrics!

“You’re a whole new generation, you’re dancing through the day…. put a Pepsi in the motion!”

We see a young Alfonso Ribeiro famous for playing Carlton Banks, with Will Smith in “Fresh Prince” (Will Smith would later go to work with Michael Jackson in “Men in Black”). He is dancing with Michael and the Jackson’s and he is wearing the Beat it outfit and they are doing a version of “Beat it”, it sounds like the music was re recorded, and not the original version. In fact the video is almost a “friendly” “Beat it”! Two gang bump and then do the dance and make up – the classic MJ way! 🙂

Many many more were made, including the “I’ll be there” commercial, The “Pepsi convention” commercial, with Michael on stage (the famous burn one), The Dangerous era “Dreams” commercial and “The chase” which was a long advert, which was basically a film! We’ll go over them in detail starting tomorrow!

As far back as January 1984, the BBC reported that Michael was earning $7 million from Pepsi:

“The superstar is earning a reputed £7m for the series of Pepsi Cola adverts which also feature his four famous brothers. It is part of a huge sponsorship deal the singer agreed last year.”

That would be smashed with the sponsorship of first 2 Michael Jackson solo tours, the Bad tour and the Dangerous tour… it did not end well though. They parted company after the 1993 allegations against Michael, during the Dangerous tour and it is actually reported that Michael himself hated Pepsi! We’ll investigate tomorrow!

By Anthony King


DVDs! How To Dance Like Michael Jackson! anthony-king.com

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