In a surprising twist of fate, Madonna’s infamous Pepsi commercial, recorded 34 years ago and swiftly shelved, has emerged from the vaults of history to spark fresh debate and controversy. The controversial video, initially condemned even by the Vatican, has resurfaced, leaving many to ponder its significance.
The iconic singer, now 65 years old, shot the commercial back in 1989 as a promotional piece for her song “Like A Prayer.” However, due to an outcry from religious groups and the Vatican itself, the music video was promptly canceled, never to see the light of day.
Madonna, known for her boundary-pushing artistry and penchant for stirring controversy, took to her Instagram account on Wednesday to express her gratitude to Pepsi for finally releasing the once-banned ad. She wrote, “Thank you to Pepsi for finally realizing the genius of our collaboration. Artists are here to disturb the peace.”
The two-minute commercial originally aired on March 2, 1989, just a day before the music video for “Like A Prayer” was scheduled to be released. Reportedly, the contract for the commercial was valued at more than 5 million dollars, as reported by the Daily Mail.
The black-and-white ad features a younger Madonna seated in front of a television, holding a can of Pepsi, while watching herself on the TV screen. It showcases the singer dancing in the streets at night, adorned with silver necklaces featuring cross pendants and a revealing neckline.
However, the video’s controversial scenes depicting burning crosses and a seduction of a saint led to an uproar among religious groups. The Vatican also joined the condemnation, intensifying the controversy surrounding Madonna’s work.
Despite the ad’s vast reach, airing in more than 40 countries and reaching an estimated 250 million viewers, Pepsi was forced to pull the commercial and terminate its sponsorship deal with Madonna in response to the mounting backlash.
Recently, the controversial ad made a surprise return, airing on Tuesday at the MTV Video Music Awards. Madonna herself was notably absent from the event, reportedly preoccupied with preparations for an upcoming tour.
The reappearance of Madonna’s Pepsi commercial serves as a reminder of the enduring power of art to provoke, challenge, and ignite passionate discourse, even decades after its creation.