Madonna Reacts to Pepsi Airing Her Formerly Banned Commercial: ‘Finally Realizing the Genius’
Madonna's previously banned Pepsi commercial has finally aired again after 34 years, and the Queen of Pop has some feelings about it.
Pepsi aired the commercial, which was originally aired in 1989 before it was pulled from broadcast, during the 2023 MTV VMAs Tuesday (Sept. 12).
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"34 years ago I made a commercial with Pepsi to celebrate the release of my song 'Like a Prayer.' The commercial was immediately canceled when I refused to change any scenes in the video where I was kissing a black saint or burning crosses. So began my illustrious career as an artist refusing to compromise my artistic integrity," Madonna wrote in a statement shared to social media.
"Thank you @pepsi for finally realizing the genius of our collaboration. Artists are here to disturb the peace," she continued.
In January 1989, Pepsi-Cola announced they had signed Madonna to a $5 million deal to use her then-new single "Like a Prayer" in an upcoming national commercial. At the time they struck their deal, the pop star was still filming the official music video for the hit track.
Pepsi and Madonna's commercial, titled "Make a Wish," debuted during the 31st Annual Grammy Awards in February 1989. The family-friendly ad showed Madonna returning to her childhood and enjoying a can of Pepsi as she watched her younger self celebrate her birthday.
The day after the wholesome commercial was released, Madonna debuted her boundary-pushing music video for "Like a Prayer" on MTV. The music video featured Madonna dancing in lingerie alongside imagery deemed blasphemous by many Christians, including Catholic symbols such as the stigmata, saint prayer cards and crosses.
Pope John Paul II condemned Madonna for using the religious imagery alongside sexual visuals.
Not long after, Pepsi pulled the commercial from rotation due to mounting social pressures as well as boycotts from Christian groups and the Vatican.