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Pepsi Taps Michael Jackson Legacy for ‘Live for Now’ Campaign

Posted by Sheila Shayon on May 3, 2012 11:59 AM

Pepsi has announced an exclusive global partnership with Michael Jackson’s Estate as part of its new "Live for Now" campaign, PepsiCo’s global platform to re-engage teens via pop music and culture influencers including Nicki Minaj and Katy Perry, whose upcoming movie the brand is sponsoring.

The deal coincides with brand's legacy with the King of Pop and the 25th anniversary of Jackson's multi-platinum Bad album (released August 31, 1987) and record-breaking tour, and Pepsi and Sony Music will share new mixes, as well as one billion — that's right, billion — special edition Michael Jackson Bad 25 Pepsi limited edition cans with an iconic silhouette of Jackson, as you can see below.

"When we look at what Pepsi really stands for, we've been an entertainment platform for as far back as anyone can remember," said Simon Lowden, chief marketing officer of PepsiCo Americas Beverages, to Ad Age. "But there have been times in the last decade where we haven't been in the right place in entertainment around the world, haven't been at the forefront."  

Campaign activities will launch first in China (May 5th) and the United States (May 7th) with 20 additional markets in Asia, South America and Europe throughout 2012. Worldwide contests will invite fans to win merchandise including a limited number of jackets inspired by the original staff BAD tour jackets and tickets to Michael Jackson THE IMMORTAL World Tour by Cirque du Soleil, the #1 touring show in North America. 

In addition to launching a limited edition 16oz. King of Pop Pepsi can, the U.S. will initiate a nationwide music-themed retail campaign. Digital venues for Pepsi Pulse, the brand’s interactive Live for Now website, include a Tumblr-like dashboard of pop culture with updates on events and challenges.

"Pepsi has always been at the forefront of pop culture, helping to shape the music landscape,” said Brad Jakeman, president, Global Enjoyment Brands, and chief creative officer, PepsiCo Global Beverages Group. “This unique global partnership, around such a legendary music milestone, invites Pepsi fans from around the world to experience Michael Jackson's music in an engaging and very NOW kind of way — it's a model example of how Pepsi's 'Live for Now' campaign can manifest itself in a way that resonates the world over."

Jackson’s relationship with Pepsi spans more than 25 years, beginning in 1983 as part of the Pepsi 'New Generation' campaign followed by the BAD Tour and iconic "The Chase" commercials (watch below) that were impetus for the current reunion. Pepsi also featured Jackson in the 'Music Icons' commercial that premiered during The X Factor in 2011.

"We are thrilled to bring Michael and Pepsi back together, as they were in 1988…and to put Michael on one billion Pepsi cans – perhaps a Guinness record," commented John Branca and John McClain, co-executors of the Estate of Michael Jackson. Branca and McClain added, "We're excited to see it all come to life."

Take a look back at Pepsi's iconic commercials with Jackson below:

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