Pepsi Announces Michael Jackson Ad Campaign

Image credit: PepsiCo

In a move not quite as dramatic as Coachella's resurrection of Tupac, PepsiCo Inc. said today that it has collaborated with Michael Jackson's estate to use the Gloved One's  image and his music in a series of new ads across the world.

The promotion will vary across the globe but will include Jackson's silhouette on 1 billion special-edition cans as well as a TV spot, contests and the opportunity for fans to download remixes of some of Jackson's top hits.

The Michael Jackson campaign also will coincide with the 25th anniversary of the "Bad" album and his 1988 tour, which the company sponsored.

It is part of PepsiCo's "Live for Now" promotion, which Brad Jakeman, president of Global Enjoyment Brands and chief creative officer of PepsiCo's Global Beverage Group, said was meant to highlight the company's relationship with pop culture.

PepsiCo. is expected to release a TV ad featuring Nicki Minaj next week.

Larry D. Woodard, an ABC News columnist, and CEO and president of  Graham Stanley Advertising, called the campaign "innovative."

"Pepsi and Frank Cooper [its chief marketing officer of global consumer engagement] are not afraid to try new things," he said. "He's not afraid to try new and broad and big and bold strategies."

Jackson and the beverage company have a relationship that goes back to 1983, when he and his brothers appeared in the "New Generation" campaign. In 1984, during a Pepsi commercial shoot that changed Jackson's life,  pyrotechnics accidentally set his hair on fire. Ten years later, he admitted that he'd been hooked on prescription drugs since the accident.

Laura Ries, president of Ries and Ries, an Atlanta marketing strategy firm, said that it made sense for PepsiCo to bring back Jackson, especially for the "Bad" anniversary, because fans were eager to revisit good memories of the entertainer.

"We all want to remember the Michael who was the 'King of Pop,'" she said. "He's very iconic. … Enough time has passed [since his 2009 death]. They will be excited to remember Michael Jackson and excited about Pepsi."