Michael Jackson dances again on one billion Pepsi cans

| May 4, 2012

The limited edition King of Pop Pepsi can. REUTERS/Pepsico

(Reuters) – Michael Jackson is dancing again, on Pepsi cans.

The soft drink maker and the estate for the late pop star on Thursday unveiled plans to put the singer’s silhouette on one billion soft drink cans in a global pop culture ad campaign.

The late King of Pop, who pitched Pepsi in 1980s commercials as “the choice of a new generation”, will appear in some of his iconic dance poses for the promotion, which will also coincide with the 25th anniversary of the singer’s “Bad” album.

The limited edition Pepsi cans will go on sale first in China, starting on Saturday, and then in the United States later this month. They will be rolled out in Asia, South America and Europe later in 2012.

Fans of the singer, who died in June 2009, will also be able to enter contests for tickets to Cirque du Soleil’s show “Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour.”

Pepsi, Jackson’s estate, and his Sony Music record company are also teaming up to share new mixes of music from the “Bad” album as part of the campaign.

“We are thrilled to bring Michael and Pepsi back together, as they were in 1988, to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the ‘Bad’ album and tour and to put Michael on one billion Pepsi cans,” John Branca and John McClain, the executors of Jackson’s estate, said in a statement.

The Jackson cans are part of Pepsi’s new “Live for Now” campaign, which seeks to harness pop culture to boost sales. Pepsi-Cola is currently No.3 in the United States, behind Coca-Cola and Diet Coke in a declining market for carbonated drinks.

Pepsi said earlier this week that rapper Nicki Minaj would feature in a commercial as part of the campaign.

Jackson has been associated with Pepsi since 1983 when he appeared alongside his Jackson 5 brothers in his first Pepsi campaign.

But the memories are not all good. Jackson’s hair famously caught fire while filming a Pepsi commercial in 1984 in Los Angeles, scorching his scalp. The incident was later blamed for triggering Jackson’s addiction to painkillers that caused him to enter rehab in 1993.

Jackson, 50, died in Los Angeles from an overdose of the anesthetic propofol and sedatives. His personal doctor is serving a four-year jail sentence in Los Angeles for involuntary manslaughter.

(Reporting By Jill Serjeant; Editing by Piya Sinha-Roy and Bob Tourtellotte)

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