PepsiCo Inc. desperately needs some razzle-dazzle to boost its brand. Who better to help than Michael Jackson, the music icon whose career made short work of attendance and album sales records?
So what if the King of Pop is no longer alive? The beverage brand, which has struggled to eclipse rival Coca Cola Co., is pairing with Sony Music and Jackson’s estate to roll out a campaign pegged to the 25th anniversary of the performer’s multiplatinum “Bad” album and tour.
One billion special edition soda cans featuring Jackson’s image will be sold around the world, Pepsi said. China will get the first batch, launching Saturday. Later this month, special-edition 16-ounce cans will be available in the U.S.
The star, who died in 2009, had a long history with Pepsi. He first starred in an ad campaign for the company with his brothers in 1983. The next year, while on set filming a Pepsi commercial, a pyrotechnics accident severely burned the singer.
Pepsi has a lot riding on its new push. In 2010, Pepsi was knocked out of the No. 2 spot among sodas in the U.S. by Diet Coke, with Coke remaining in the No. 1 position, according to the industry tracker Beverage Digest.
Last month, Pepsi also reported that volume in its key Americas beverages unit slipped by 1 percent in the first three months of the year. The Associated Press contributed.