Can we not let the past stay past? Is that so impossible? Was Fred Astaire’s romp through the uncanny valley with a Dirt Devil not shameful enough? Apparently no one has learned their lesson, because PepsiCo has just announced a deal with the estate of Michael Jackson to use his image and likeness for its next wave of global marketing.
According to a press release issued by PepsiCo today, the new “Live for Now” global retail campaign will involve “one billion special edition Michael Jackson Bad 25 Pepsi cans, iconic music, epic live events and opportunities for fans to access special edition merchandise.” PepsiCo Global Beverages Group chief creative officer Brad Jakeman summed it up like this:
"Pepsi has always been at the forefront of pop culture, helping to shape the music landscape. This unique global partnership, around such a legendary music milestone, invites Pepsi fans from around the world to experience Michael Jackson's music in an engaging and very NOW kind of way – it's a model example of how Pepsi's 'Live for Now' campaign can manifest itself in a way that resonates the world over."
So that’s fine, and after all who can blame them? Nostalgia is mad profitable, and apparently so is raising the dead in digital form – Billboard.com reports that Tupac’s Greatest Hits album from 1998 has sold over 4,000 copies and landed back on the Billboard 200 in the weeks since a hologram of his likeness appeared on stage at Coachella. What’s more, in his prime (and before the whole hair on fire incident), Michael Jackson was Pepsi’s best asset – or maybe it was secretly Alfonso Ribeiro, but either way this commercial was the best thing ever:
Still, it’s all a bit eerie. With a campaign title like “Live for Now,” wouldn’t PepsiCo be better served by finding a marketing partner who’s still, you know – alive? We’re sure Britney Spears would love to hear from you.