Michael Jackson in Pepsi Commercials

Michael Jackson’s career as King of Pop reached one of its climaxes with his promotional campaign for Pepsi in 1983 and 1984.

Michael Jackson Pyrotechnics

The campaign began when Jackson’s managers worked with Jay Coleman, Entertainment Marketing & Communications International, to put broker a deal for a major advertising campaign. The proposal went first to Coca Cola, who limited their offer to $1 million because of their perception that Jackson’s appeal was limited to an ethnic audience. Pepsi, on the other hand, were looking for a new way to promote their products with the “New Generation” tag line. The campaign put together by BBDO ended up focusing on television advertising featuring Michael and his brothers, tour sponsorship, logos on cans, point-of-sale displays and PR-friendly events. Jackson rewrote “Billy Jean” to form a jingle with the line, “You’re the Pepsi Generation”.

A New Generation

A kid (Alfonso Ribeiro, also known as Carlton from ‘The Fresh Prince of Bel Air’) dances with Michael Jackson and The Jacksons.


Michael Jackson and his brothers appear at Shrine Auditorium, Los Angeles to sing Billie Jean.

Hair on Fire

On January 27, 1984, Michael’s hair caught fire during a freak filming accident on the set of the “Convention” commercial. Pyrotechnics went off as Michael appeared on a set of steps, instead of after he passed as in the five earlier shoots. He was treated in hospital for second and third degree burns to his face and scalp. Jackson and Pepsi settled out of court for damages, with Jackson donating his $1.5 million settlement to the Brotman Memorial Hospital in Culver City, California, establishing the Michael Jackson Burn Center for Children.


The Next Generation Michael Jackson campaign was developed at BBDO New York. Filming was shot by Bob Giraldi.

via Billboard

Filed under: Commercials, Pepsi

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