It has been three years since the death of Michael Jackson—The King of Pop. Like other deceased celebrities, such as Elvis Presley, he is still a proven money maker. Jackson’s estate recently struck a deal with Pepsi to feature a silhouette of the King on a billion of their soda cans. The cola beverages will be sold in the US and twenty other countries around the globe this summer.
This is the first posthumous marketing deal for the estate and the terms are not being disclosed. Michael Jackson remains hugely popular around the world, spanning all age groups. Although this was the first marketing deal for the estate, it will certainly not be the last.
Michael Jackson’s first Pepsi marketing deal in the 80s earned him a then-record sum of $5 million. As part of that deal, he performed in several Pepsi spots in the 80s and 90s. During the filming of one of the spots, Jackson’s hair was ignited and he suffered serious burns to his face and scalp.
The Michael Jackson deal continues a significant history at Pepsi of partnering with musicians to market their cola beverages. In the past Pepsi has used Ray Charles, Madonna, and Britney Spears to sell their products in addition to Jackson.
What might Jackson think of this new marketing deal using his image? Because he did not create a trust and use those documents to make allowances and restrictions upon the use of his image, we will never know. To ensure his image and music were only used in ways that he would approve of, Jackson should have create a trust document which would set forth his wishes. He could then clearly state his preferences for the future of his estate, his funds, his image and his music.
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