Since everyone is talking about the Kendall Jenner/Pepsi ad today, we think it’s only right that we dive in and broaden your minds about foolhardy Pepsi ads that history will never forget.
The year was 1984, one year after Michael Jackson’s world smash hit “Thriller” was released and Pepsi knew to immediately align its brand with the musical phenomenon, so they got MJ to sign a record-shattering$5 million deal.
The two brands got to work on filming an ad that was to shake the world of advertising but tragedy struck in one of the scenes. We’re not trying to build up a Nollywood scenario, watch the incident:
Less than a month after Michael Jackson’s death in 2009, Us Weekly released the footage you just watched and it left the world in shock. The magazine reported that Jackson suffered third-degree burns on his scalp and body and he became addicted to painkillers and other substances as the pain from the burn never quite eased off for years. The hair in the head region never also grew back so he resorted to wearing wigs the rest of his life.
Pepsi paid Michael Jackson $1.5 million in compensation for the accident and later signed a second deal with him worth $10 million. This global deal was in support of his “Bad” album and tour in 1987/1988.
That said, the man who directed that filming project, Bob Giraldi said the accident marked the end of his working relationship with the star. He recalls that the moment when the accident happened is one he would never forget and partly blamed it on a bit of tension between MJ and the ad executives.
We decided to bring this to your remembrance not as an attempt to smear Pepsi’s image but just so, you get a background how far they’ve come with controversial ad campaigns. Good thing, Pepsi knows how to pull through the mud and bounce back fine.