Michael Jackson apparently hits the spot for Pepsi.
At a New York press conference today, the soft drink company will announce the signing of the 27-year-old superstar to a three-year deal reportedly worth $15 million. In 1984, before their Victory Tour, Jackson and his siblings signed a $5.5 million, one-year deal with Pepsi; it was the largest endorsement and sponsorship contract to that time.
This go-round, Pepsi's deal is with Michael Jackson alone, but once again, the Guinness Book of World Records verification squad, headed by editor Alan Russell, will be at the press conference to record the most humongous personal endorsement contract in advertising and human history (they'll probably phrase it differently).
Jackson, his personal manager Frank DiLeo and Pepsi USA President and Chief Executive Officer Roger Enrico will make the announcement at 11 a.m. at New York's Red Parrot. As usual, DiLeo is expected to answer all questions directed at Jackson, who hasn't granted an interview in three years. The singer is, however, expected to make a brief statement.
All this might make you think Jackson loves Pepsi. But he literally won't touch the stuff.
Jackson drinks only fruit juices, and he will not be asked to handle -- much less drink -- any Pepsi product. He also refused to touch or drink Pepsi in commercials after the first endorsement contract; the slack was taken up by his brothers.
Jackson's new Pepsi contract reportedly calls for him to make at least two television commercials. The first will be filmed in the fall and is expected to debut on next year's Grammy Awards (as did the 1984 "Victory" commercial). The second will be shot in spring 1987.
In addition, Pepsi will have the right to sponsor any concert tour the singer might plan either in the United States or abroad. DiLeo told the Los Angeles Times that no tour is currently being planned, but there have been rumors that Jackson will sing at the opening of the Goodwill Games in Moscow in July (Pepsi is a sponsor).
"We have no comment on that right now, but in a few weeks we might," said Allison Berry of the public relations office at Turner Broadcasting, which organized the Goodwill Games.
Meanwhile, Jackson's follow-up to "Thriller" -- which, at 39 million copies, is the biggest selling album of all time -- is now slated for fall release. Once again, Quincy Jones is producing.
September will also see the release of the George Lucas-produced, Francis Coppola-directed "Captain Eo," the 12-minute, three-dimensional movie Jackson made last year for Walt Disney Productions. It will become a permanent attraction at California's Disneyland and at the Epcot Center in Florida's Disney World.
Also in the works: a line of Michael Jackson casual sportswear for girls, boys and juniors; Michael's Pets, inspired by his real-life back-yard pals; and a new Saturday-morning cartoon series based on the Pets. It will be Jackson's second cartoon project. The Jackson Five were the subjects of and provided the voices for a series back in the early '70s, with the 12-year-old Michael able to watch his cartoon self every Saturday morning.