Madonna reacts to 1989 Pepsi banned ad featuring her
Madonna, the iconic Queen of Pop, has broken her silence regarding Pepsi’s surprising decision to resurrect her once-controversial commercial from 34 years ago.
The 52-second edited version of the 1989 ad made a comeback during the MTV Video Music Awards as part of Pepsi’s 125th-anniversary celebration, leaving viewers both astonished and nostalgic.
In the commercial, Madonna is seen dancing with a group of performers on a city street and in a ’50s-style diner while her then-new single, “Like a Prayer,” plays in the background. Her famous line, “Go ahead, make a wish,” still resonates.
Today, the ad appears remarkably mild compared to the uproar it generated in its time. However, it’s worth noting that it was initially pulled due to Madonna’s refusal to alter scenes involving kissing a Black saint and burning crosses.
On Instagram, Madonna shared her thoughts on this unexpected revival. She recounted the commercial’s history, thanked Pepsi for “finally realising the genius of our collaboration,” and quoted James Baldwin: “Artists are here to disturb the peace.”
Madonna’s playfulness didn’t end there. She later posted a photo of herself enjoying a can of Coca-Cola, Pepsi’s arch-rival, with the caption, “Also good!”
The original commercial had been part of a $5 million sponsorship deal between Pepsi and Madonna, linked to the release of her “Like a Prayer” album in March 1989. Unfortunately for Pepsi, they hadn’t anticipated the controversial nature of the album’s music video. The video’s religious imagery led to condemnation from various Christian groups, including the Vatican. Pepsi promptly terminated its contract with Madonna and withdrew the ad after just two airings.
In the end, Madonna emerged victorious, retaining the $5 million from the campaign, and “Like a Prayer” became a global sensation, solidifying its place as one of her most cherished songs in music history.