Michael Jackson “I’ll be there” piano Pepsi commercial

Michael Jackson and the Pepsi company had a long and successful relationship from 1983 – 1993 and Michael appeared in numerous commercials for the drinks company. We briefly looked at the partnership between Pepsi and Michael Jackson a few days back and today we are going to look at a really cool comercial that he did for the company back in 1992 broadcast outside the United States in 1993 which was controversial for Michael being accused of insisting that a white boy be used instead of a black boy for recreating Michael Jackson 5 look in parts of the commercial!

Michael Jackson “I’ll be there” commercial

Back in 1992 Michael Jackson participated in his last commercial for Pepsi. It had Michael Jackson sitting at a piano in a large beautiful room, reminiscing and singing his Jackson 5 song “I’ll be there”. The advert is mixed with old footage of the family from Janet Jackson to his brothers “The Jacksons”, as children. Michael then hears, his younger self singing. A younger Michael has appeared in the doorway and older Michael Jackson then sings a duet with his younger self.

Did Michael Jackson play the piano?

We see Michael Jackson sit at the piano and sing “I’ll be there”. We never see his hands or any actual playing. I would say that Michael Jackson is almost 100% not playing. Apparently, Michael could play the piano and we can see a couple of places. Click here to see Michael playing a keyboard in Japan back in 1987 with the Japanese composer “Isao Tomita”. If he was playing, they would show it.

Not shown in the United States

The commercial was not shown in the United States. It was only broadcast in foreign territories. This is normal for International US actors and musicians. They have one reputation at home and a different one abroad. Michael Jackson even did a commercial for the Japanese bike company Suzuki! These things are never broadcast at home.

White actor to play Michael Jackson controversy

Right at the beginning of 1993 on the 2nd and 3rd January the New York Post broke a story that would travel world wide. The story was that “Michael Jackson picks a white boy to portray him in ad”. The NY Post also reported; “Plans to use old footage of Jackson were scrapped at least in part because the pictures would make Jackson’s plastic surgery and skin-bleaching makeover too obvious”.

Michael Jackson talked about this incident in his famous Oprah Winfrey interview and dispelled it as totally untrue. We have a lot of controversy with Michael Jackson and Pepsi (hair on fire – which we will also look at), and it sounds like any publicity was courted to promote the commercial and the product. The actual face of the boy was to be digitally replaced and altered to look darker.

Michael Jackson re recorded the song

It’s interesting to note that Michael Jackson re recorded the song for this commercial. We didn’t have a change of lyrics, like the first “Pepsi generation” commercial, promoting pepsi (Michael didn’t write this song anyway). It also highlights his voice and how it was and high he used to be as a child.

“I’ll be there” performance released: Michael Jackson – Dangerous: The Short Films (1993)

A full version of this advert and commercial was officially released on the Dangerous Short films DVD in 1993. They have removed all the Pepsi logos and close ups of the bottle but you can just catch it at the end if you look closely.

It’s interesting to note:

What has this commercial got to do with Pepsi?

Maybe they just wanted Michael in a commercial and the association was enough. Maybe when ever you need a nice cold soft drink, Pepsi will “be there”. Maybe when you drink Pepsi you will retain and summon up the spirit of your youth?

Nevertheless, a beautiful commercial and performance. If you want to see a REAL Michael jackson commercial you need to see Michael Jackson’s 1980 “Don’t stop til you get enough” SUZUKI commercial! You can see it here and watch the making here!

By Anthony King


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

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MICHAEL JACKSON AND FRIENDS 1999 CHARITY CONCERTS
MICHAEL JACKSON’S HISTORY WORLD TOUR 1996
MICHAEL JACKSON’S DANGEROUS WORLD TOUR 1992
MICHAEL JACKSON’S BAD TOUR 1988
WHY DID MICHAEL JACKSON WEAR A WHITE JACKET FOR “THRILLER” IN THE HISTORY AND DANGEROUS WORLD TOURS?

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