Throwback Thursday: The Choice of a Generation

“You’re the Pepsi Generation.”

At least that is what Michael Jackson changed the “Billie Jean” lyrics to for his Pepsi commercials.

Advertising and music can go together like a meal. If the right ingredients are selected, the meal can turn out to be a mouthwatering, delicious hit. But other times those ingredients don’t exactly fit well together– even if they taste great separately. The relationship between a brand and a song or musician can be very delicate. The wrong combination can cause a commercial to flop and even cost the brand consumers. But the right combination of commercial, song and musician can increase brand awareness, reputation and consumer consumption. This Throwback Thursday, we’ll look at one of the greatest examples of this involving  a soda pop brand working with the King of Pop: the partnership between Pepsi and Michael Jackson.

During the 1980s and 1990s, Jackson’s career was at its highest. At this time, Pepsi was searching for ideas to make it seem younger and hipper than its biggest rival, Coca-Cola. When the two pop sensations came to an agreement in 1983 for Jackson to be a part of “the Choice of a New Generation” campaign, it was the first time that Pepsi used an international pop star as a spokesperson. The agreement paved the way for future deals between the brand and musicians like Britney Spears, Beyonce, Ludacris (for a very brief moment) and many others.

 

 

Did you notice who the young boy was in the commercial? If you did a double take, you’re not the only one. It took me a few seconds (and a little research) to find out that it was a young Alfonso Ribeiro—better known as Carlton Banks. Both Jackson and Ribeiro star in the commercial as they dance to a reworded version of “Billie Jean.”

Cover Photo Source: Photoseeker

Eric is a junior executive at SJG. He is a native Chicagoan who graduated from DePaul as a double major in Management and Public Relations & Advertising. Eric is the go-to-guy for anything sports related and can often be found on the mats getting ready to compete in Jiu-Jitsu tournaments.