The Taste of a Scandalized Generation

It’s Friday. Spring is here. Let’s party with some vintage Madonna!

The year is 1989, and a titillated nation awaits the new Madonna album. Pepsi Cola, still riding high from the success of the their previous spokespeople, Whitney Houston and Michael Jackson,  thoughtfully gives my homegirl $5 million to let them use the title song in a super special commercial. Pepsi even produced a commercial which promoted Madonna’s commercial. Pretty meta.

Two hundred and fifty million people around the world tuned in to see the premier run featuring her song Like a Prayer.  Madge, looking stunning, brings her A-game and everything is all nostalgic and wistful, with just a hint of Madonna edge for street cred. I imagine Pepsi execs pumping their fists into the air, slapping each other’s backs and adding a little more rum to their rock glasses.

The next day Madonna’s official video for Like a Prayer premiers on MTV. (Please insert sound a record scratch here)

Madonna crosses

In her video, Madonna makes out with a priest in a church and dances in a field of flaming crosses. Pepsi execs realize they never thought to preview her actual video for the song.

People FREAKED. Religious groups the world over called for a boycott of Pepsi. The soft drink maker was declared the worst of heathens and peddlers of the smut.

Pepsi terminated their contract with Madonna allowing her to keep the $5 million as long as she didn’t stand too near a Pepsi machine. Our world narrowly missed a total breakdown in law and ethics. Whew!

In the end this much hyped commercial only aired the one time and in the past few years the pop maker and pop princess have made nice with Pepsi even referencing the song in their 2016 Superbowl commercial. We truly live in magical times.


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