Pepsi has announced plans to bring back an old friend—the King of Pop, Michael Jackson—in an attempt to boost sales. The company will be making a deal with the estate of Michael Jackson to use the pop star’s image, although the terms of the deal have not been disclosed.
This new marketing strategy will feature the late pop star’s image on special edition cans, in TV ads, and will also offer consumers the opportunity to download remixes of some of Jackson’s biggest hits. Pepsi partnered with Jackson back in 1983 and hopes that bringing him back will help the company reclaim their number two spot among soft drinks in the U.S. For years Pepsi trailed Coke for the number one spot, but in 2010 Diet Coke stole their second place position. Pepsi is hoping that Jackson will bring some nostalgia to the campaign, helping the company win back market share from Coca Cola.
Memories of the King of Pop are sure to touch quite a few consumers; however, the campaign may also be a bit risky. In addition to fond memories of Jackson, the public also has memories of the controversial Pepsi commercial shoot from 1984. During the shoot, a spark from the pyrotechnics display caught on Jackson’s hair, setting it on fire. To compensate Jackson for the severe burns, Pepsi gave him $1.5 million. Many of Michael’s fans allege that this event led to his addiction to pain killers; some even hold the company itself responsible for it.
Pepsi has decided that it is worth the risk, and the campaign will hit the U.S and China in upcoming weeks. They hope to have the campaign coincide with the 25th anniversary of Michael Jackson’s multiplatinum album, “Bad.” In addition to the U.S and China the campaign is scheduled to reach about two dozen more countries later this year.