By Gil Kaufman
Michael Jackson died over three years ago, but this year the King of Pop’s face can be found plastered on Pepsi cans as part of the soda giant’s new “Live For Now” campaign, which also features Nicki Minaj and Katy Perry.
According to The Wall Street Journal the #2 soda company is going back to the future with a massive campaign that will have Jackson’s image imprinted on more than one billion cans of soda as part of its new global “Live For Now” marketing push.
Nearly 30 years after Jackson first agreed to be the voice of the brand, an agreement has been reached with Jackson’s estate, though reps for both sides declined to disclose the financial terms of the deal. When Jackson signed on to shill Pepsi in 1984 he was paid a then-record $5 million. A representative for the estate said the PepsiCo campaign is the first branding deal executed since Jackson died in 2009 at the age of 50.
While Jackson was handsomely paid in the 1984 deal, it was during the filming of an ad for that sponsorship that his life was forever altered. While shooting a commercial for Pepsi, a pyro effect went wrong and Jackson’s hair caught fire, seriously burning his face and scalp and requiring multiple skin grafts and resulting in intense pain. It has been speculated that Jackson’s addiction to pain medications may have begun after the mishap.
The new campaign is timed to coincide with the 25th anniversary of Jackson’s Bad album. PepsiCo will start distributing the special-edition cans in China this weekend and they will arrive in the U.S. later this month. Though TV ads featuring music from Bad will debut in China later this month, it has not been determined yet if similar spots will air in the U.S.