Almost a full twenty-seven years ago, on March 2, 1989, Madonna premiered her “Like A Prayer” single during a broadcast of The Cosby Show (oh how the controversy would later seem even more intense knowing what we now do about Bill). And this was also after Pepsi dropped a huge amount of dough to air a teaser commercial for the commercial itself during the 31st Annual Grammy Awards.
What Pepsi couldn’t have known was that Madonna was about to drop a huge bomb on their then unprecedented partnership. In fact, the day after, the commercial would become tainted in Pepsi’s eyes when M released the actual video for the song, chock full of burning crosses and all. While, at first, the company tried to stay loyal to their cash cow, the breadth and intensity of religious protests throughout not just the U.S., but, most significantly, by Pope John Paul II himself, proved too much pressure for Pepsi. Thus, the ad was aired a grand total of one time before being pulled. The company paid Madonna 5 million dollars to show the commercial once.
But now, it would seem time has healed all wounds based on Pepsi’s latest Super Bowl-geared commercial featuring Janelle Monae dancing to, among other songs, “Express Yourself,” heavily featured for the majority of the spot. Considering the track is from the same album and year that Madonna did them wrong, is this the company’s way of saying, “We forgive you”? One imagines so. And yet again, time is on Madonna’s side.