Pop legend Michael Jackson is about to reach a posthumous milestone; his album “Bad” is turning 25 this year. In conjunction with the anniversary, Pepsi has announced they will be partnering with the singer’s estate to gain the rights to his image and music for a huge marketing campaign.
The promotion–set to roll out into over two dozen countries by this fall–will feature a television ad and a very famous image of Jackson on limited-edition cans, as well as the chance for consumers to download songs from the album by scanning the cans’ special codes with their phones. Nicki Minaj is also part of their new plan and the company recently announced a partnership with Twitter to stream live concerts online. While the marketing strategy will vary between different countries–some will have contests to win memorabilia and concert tickets–one thing is clear: Pepsi is stepping up their game against Coca-Cola.
Pepsi has been reaching toward a younger audience for a while now, trying to integrate their business with the growing social media and technology market. Last year saw them unveil their “Social Vending System“, an interactive soda machine, and earlier this year they announced a plan for Pepsi NEXT, a diet drink targeted at young males to compete with Coke Zero, a similar soda.
Of course, most people of a certain age can’t help but be reminded of the infamous Pepsi/Jackson debacle in 1984, when sparks from pyrotechnics set up for a commercial severely burned Jackson’s face. Many of those closest to him attributed his addiction to pain pills to the accident. It will be interesting to see how the public reacts to the new campaign, and whether they’ll let those negative memories affect their decisions.