Pepsi Teaming Up ... With Michael Jackson

King of Pop returns in ads, special cans
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 3, 2012 9:36 AM CDT
Pepsi Teaming Up ... With Michael Jackson
In this Aug. 29, 1993 file photo, pop singer Michael Jackson performs during his "Dangerous" concert in National Stadium, Singapore.   (AP Photo/C.F. Tham, file)

PepsiCo is going on a reunion tour with the King of Pop. The company will today announce its deal with the estate of Michael Jackson to use the late pop star's image for its new global marketing push. In the US, the company is rolling out collectible 16-ounce blue cans that bear an image of Jackson striking one of his iconic poses. Consumers will be able to scan codes on the cans with their phones to download remixed tracks from Bad.

Pepsi, which first partnered with Jackson in 1983, is looking to revive its brand and win back market share from Coca-Cola. (Other efforts in its "Live For Now" campaign include a TV ad out next week featuring Nicki Minaj and a partnership with Twitter to stream concerts online.) Although Pepsi is banking on the nostalgia Jackson can evoke, the partnership also resurrects painful memories. In 1984, Jackson's hair famously caught fire while filming a commercial for Pepsi after a spark from a pyrotechnics display landed on the singer's head. Jackson suffered severe burns and many trace his addiction to painkillers to the incident. Pepsi gave Jackson $1.5 million as a result. (More Pepsi stories.)

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