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Pepsi to launch Michael Jackson marketing campaign

Pepsi is pairing with Sony Music and Michael Jackson's estate to roll out an exclusive campaign pegged to the 25th anniversary of Jackson's multi-platinum 'Bad' album and tour.

May 04, 2012|By Tiffany Hsu, Los Angeles Times
  • Pepsi in limited-edition King of Pop cans, bearing a likeness of Michael Jackson, will go on sale in the U.S. on Monday as part of a worldwide marketing campaign centered around the late music icon.
Pepsi in limited-edition King of Pop cans, bearing a likeness of Michael… (PRNewsFoto / PepsiCo )

Michael Jackson is dead, but PepsiCo Inc. still plans to use his image to sell its soda.

The beverage brand, which has struggled to eclipse rival Coca Cola Co., is pairing with Sony Music and Jackson's estate to roll out an exclusive campaign pegged to the 25th anniversary of the performer's multi-platinum "Bad" album and tour.

One billion soda cans featuring Jackson's image will be sold around the world, Pepsi said. China will get the first batch, launching Saturday. Later this month, special-edition 16-ounce cans will be available in the U.S., followed by rollouts in other parts of Asia, South America and Europe.

The Pepsi campaign will also feature merchandise, such as jackets inspired by the original "Bad" tour, new mixes of music from the album and chances to win tickets to performances of Cirque du Soleil's "Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour" show.

The singer, who died in 2009, had a long history with Pepsi. He first starred in an ad campaign for the company with his brothers in 1983. The next year, while on set filming a Pepsi commercial, Jackson was severely burned in a pyrotechnics accident.

Last month, Pepsi announced the launch of a massive global branding campaign that it's calling "Live for Now." The first round of ads, featuring pop celebrity Nicki Minaj, will start appearing Monday.

The company, which also owns brands such as Tropicana, Gatorade and Frito-Lay, said this year that it would lay off 8,700 employees through 2014. Beverage sales in the key North American market have been sliding.

Pepsi also said it plans to boost its advertising and marketing budget by as much as $600 million this year.

The company's stock price has never managed to recoup its high from when Chief Executive Indra Nooyi first took leadership in 2007.

tiffany.hsu@latimes.com

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