Google+ Consumer Psyche: Marketing Jackson

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Saturday, July 11, 2009

Marketing Jackson

Jackson was a perfectionist with a keen sense of protecting his image, said marketing executive Jay Coleman, who used Jackson's star power to sell soda in Pepsi ads in the 1980s.

"When we would present storyboards to him from Pepsi, he got very involved," said Coleman, the founder and chief executive of Entertainment Marketing and Communications Inc. "He wanted to make sure that everything was done to the highest production values. He was that kind of guy."

After his mega-hit album "Thriller" in 1982, Jackson was in high demand for endorsements. While Pepsi was ecstatic to get Jackson's endorsement, the pop star had a non-negotiable demand: His face could not appear in the commercial for more than three seconds.

"Initially we were, like, shocked," Coleman recalled. "We were paying $5 million to a star to be in an ad campaign, and he comes to you and he says, 'You can only show my face for three seconds.' Really?"

Instead of Jackson's face, the commercials showed him moonwalking and pictured his famous glove before showing a brief shot of his face.

"Michael had this thing about not wanting to be overexposed, and he convinced us that less was more," Coleman said. "It was a struggle in the beginning, but those commercials worked so brilliantly in part because of his input."

-- PERVAIZ SHALLWANI
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