Hours after the brand pulled Kendall Jenner’s protest-themed commercial, the Material Girl, 58, shared a throwback photo of herself holding a can of Pepsi’s rival Coca-Cola. She captioned the 1999 Grammy Awards photo with a first place gold medal emoji, and offered a close-up of the red can to further emphasize her point.
Madonna may be on team Coca-Cola these days, but she also had her very own Pepsi commercial that caused a stir among viewers and consumers.
In January 1989, the singer inked a $5 million endorsement deal with Pepsi that led the company to release a two-minute television ad and featured her singing and dancing.
The fairly innocuous ad reached an estimated 250 million viewers in over 40 countries, but was subsequently revoked in April 1989 after it generated controversy when Madonna premiered the full-length music video for “Like a Prayer” on MTV the following day. The video’s imagery, which included burning crosses, stigmata and the seduction of a saint, drew the ire of religious groups and customers, who assumed it was part of the Pepsi ad.
At the time, the Vatican condemned the video and religious groups threatened to ban the commercial and boycott Pepsi products. Not only did Pepsi eventually pull the commercial but the company also canceled Madonna’s sponsorship contract.
In her “Live For Now Moments Anthem” commercial, the model and Keeping Up with the Kardashians reality star leaves her photo shoot behind to join a march before handing a police officer a can of Pepsi, causing her fellow protesters to erupt in cheers as he takes a drink.
Many detractors accused Pepsi of blatantly appropriating the spirit and imagery of the anti-Donald Trump resistance, Black Lives Matter and other movements in order to sell their product.
In response to the backfire, Pepsi defended the ad in a statement: “This is a global ad that reflects people from different walks of life coming together in a spirit of harmony, and we think that’s an important message to convey.”