Friday, August 29, 2014

It's Michael Jackson's 56th Birthday: Recall his Pepsi Commercials? And now Janelle Monae (videos)

Today is the incomparable Michael Jackson's birthday. He would have been 56 years old. I must have known this subconsciously because I started writing this post about his 1984 Pepsi Generation commercial before I recalled that today is his birthday. And then I discovered that his brothers performed today at Tom Joyner's Family Reunion show in Orlando, Florida, in Michael's honor because it's his birthday.

Next I noticed that Janelle Monae has done what appears to be a Pepsi-associated video, which is also a street scene in which she surprises street musicians the way MJ "surprised" child dancers in his commercial for the soda giant. Pepsi posted the video to YouTube a few days ago. I've embedded it at the end of this blog post, but I'll have to investigate whether there's an intended connection between MJ's 1984 commercial and her recent video. Soul Bounce says the video is part of Pepsi's #RealBigSummer campaign. It's well-known that Monae counts MJ as one of her influences, and Pepsi owes a lot to Michael because his endorsement helped the company gain on Coca Cola in the cola wars.

If you're old enough, you remember MJ's first Pepsi Generation commercial featuring the Jackson 5 plus youngest brother Randy, and a host of kid dancers, including a young Alfonso Ribeiro. If you watched TV during the 1980s or reruns now, you'll recall that he played Carlton in Will Smith's show The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. In the commercial, MJ pairs melody of his hit "Billy Jean" with Pepsi Cola lyrics to create a catchy jingle. After Michael's death, ADWEEK ran a piece declaring the commercial deal made marketing history.

Alfonso Ribeiro Dishes On Filming Michael Jackson's Pepsi Commercial

In this next video, Ribeiro discusses filming the commercial, MJ's perfectionism, and the hair fire incident, which happened during the filming of the second Pepsi Generation commercial with Michael Jackson. Ribeiro says he was not there for that filming, but later MJ showed video of the incident in his home.

And here is Janelle Monae's that Pepsi posted.

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