Sunday, June 17, 2012

Limited Edition 'Michael Jackson' Pepsi!

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I was walking through the store the other day and I may or may not have been looking to see if I could find something with a fall or Halloween theme plastered onto the side of it. Turns out its still June and it may be a little early for that. You cannot fault me for at least trying.

While I was not quite able to locate anything Halloween related, save for a couple bags of Branches Candy Corn (but it was in its generic wrapper, not the black and orange Halloween kind), I did manage to locate something else worthy of a couple blocks of my poorly wrote text. Sitting in a fairly makeshift display on the floor was a bunch of sixteen ounce Pepsi cans with the phrase "KING OF POP" wrote on the side of it. It seemed like a pretty brash statement, even for a company like Pepsi which is sort of known saying brash things.

Then I turned the can over and suddenly the "KING OF POP" slogan makes a little bit more sense. It was Michael Jackson! I guess not even death can break the bond formed between M.J. and the Pepsi corporation. Readers younger than myself or ones not quite as versed in pop culture from previous decades may not remember the time when Pepsi shocked everyone and got Michael Jackson to appear in what is probably Pepsi's most well known television commercial:


If Pepsi and Coke were both characters in a television program I would picture Coke being the slightly older wiser brother to Pepsi's younger, naive self. Coca-Cola gets to do all the really good things that people remember, such as limited edition Christmas cans and commercials that feature Santa Claus. Pepsi, despite its best efforts, always seems to be forced to settle for second place.

Except for the time it paired with Michael Jackson. Coca-Cola is almost universally recognized as part of the holiday season therefore people expect it and sort of take it for granted. Nobody expected Pepsi to team up with Michael Jackson. And this is M.J. of the 1980's mind you, the full fledged mega star of the decade. Not the crazy doll faced Jackson that dangled a kid out of a second story window and became the blunt end of every comedians joke.

At this specific point in time M.J. was hot off the release of 1987's "Bad" album. The follow up to his immensely successful  "Thriller" album. To say that 'Bad' was one of the most anticipated albums of all time is literally not an understatement.

To give you a perspective as to what the Michael Jackson name meant to the Pepsi corporation just take a look at the sales numbers. It is estimated that just within the United States alone, the 'Thriller' and 'Bad' albums sold a combined 39,000,000 copies. Coke may have had its name all over Christmas but Pepsi had fond the one thing bigger than the biggest of holidays. Michael Jackson.

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Flash forward to the year 2012 and we are coming up close to the one year anniversary of Michael Jackson's death. It appears that once again Pepsi is trying to cash in on his name and likeness. As you can see there is not much to this cans design. It is basically just an elongated Pepsi can with the silver outline of M.J. on one side of it.

Once I realized who was on the can I was sort of surprised by how much Pepsi appeared to be downplaying the release of this item. There was no fancy display, I have not seen any TV commercials, heard any radio spots, seen anything online about it. I have to wonder if this is in part because Michael Jackson of the 1990's and 2000's was a far cry from the 'King of Pop' that so many fondly remember from the 80's.

Whatever the case may be, I am glad to see this item released. It is tasteful. A nice reminder of what Michael Jackson meant to the world when he was at his best. As someone who was a big fan of his music growing up, I like seeing the occasional bit of memorabilia to remind us all who the true 'King of Pop' really was! Kudos to Pepsi for paying tribute to Michael Jackson!

1 comment:

  1. Haven't seen these yet. But hasn't it been over 2 years since MJ passed?

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