Just this week Pepsi released what should have been a new advertising campaign for their soda brand all over the world, spearheaded by a commercial spot featuring music by Skip Marley and brand representation by model Kendall Jenner. Unfortunately they framed it in a way that upset sensibilities of quarters from Black Lives Matter and social justice in general, what with Jenner joining a protest march (of vague grievances) and then offering a can of Pepsi to a cop standing on a riot line in their way. The social media backlash was so strong that Pepsi eventually pulled the ad, despite expressing befuddlement at how quickly people were offended by a message they thought was well meaning. Queen of Pop Madonna however takes exception to the company’s “victim” act.
As CNN tells it, Madonna reposted on Instagram the doomed Pepsi ad featuring Jenner. Her accompanying caption can’t help but land a “take that” against the socially beleaguered global soda giant. “When you wake up and realize that S*** just really doesn’t make sense,” Groused the Queen of Pop on her Instagram post. “Side Note: My Pepsi commercial was pulled 30 years ago because I was kissing a black saint! #ironic”
It turns out that Madonna has some serious grievance with Pepsi regarding their standards of what to show in their advertising over the years. While the pulled ad tried to do a mish-mash of protest and social justice imagery – Black Lives Matter, American Muslims, travel ban, police action – and have it come across as a message of unity, peace and understanding, some three decades ago they would have been singing a different tune according to the now 58-year-old entertainer. Back in the late 80s, Madonna was taken on by Pepsi to be the face of their latest commercial at the time, paying her $5 million for her work.
Said ad premiered on TV during an episode of NBC sitcom “The Cosby Show” in March 2, 1989. It featured what seemed to be home video footage of Madonna with her latest sing “Like a Prayer” as background music. Unfortunately the song’s music video was also released the day after the ad aired, the same MV that was slammed by the Vatican of the day for appropriation of religious imagery like th3 stigmata, and Madonna kissing a saint’s statue that comes to life (played by a black actor, another issue of contention).
Madonna’s Pepsi commercial never saw further airplay, with the company explaining: “When you’ve got an ad that confuses people or concerns people, it just makes sense that that ad goes away.” That’s a far cry from Pepsi’s stance today, and the passing years have increased people’s tolerance for shocking themes somewhat. But the Queen of Pop never forgot, as seen by her next Instagram photo showing her dressed in red and holding a can of Coca-Cola. That and the earlier post have gone viral.
Photo courtesy of myfabemusic.blogspot.com