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Madonna's banned Pepsi advert

Twenty years ago this week, Madonna's Pepsi advert featuring Like A Prayer was shown worldwide just once, and then pulled by Pepsi after Madonna's own video for Like A Prayer was premiered later that same week:

It was, the TV voiceover promised us, not to be missed. The Material Girl was to put the fizz into Pepsi's campaign - for a fee of $5m.
The premiere of Madonna's Like A Prayer in a two-minute advert was notable enough to be reported on ITN's News At Ten, and ITV ran trailers advertising when it would be shown - 8.12pm on Thursday 2 March, 1989.
But within 48 hours of the much-hyped worldwide premiere, the company pulled the ad, and it was never screened again.

To read the rest of John Hand's interesting article looking at the pulling of the advert - including the first interview with Madonna's co-star in the Like A Prayer music video - visit


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Roland Sun

One thing that seems forgotten is that the outrage came mainly from religious groups based in the South. The controversy was about the burning crosses and her kissing a black man...things that all hit hard in the South. People used religious outrage to hide their discomfort with their racist past and present. If it had only been the Catholic Church that was outraged, I think Pepsi would have continued to run the ad, but they did not want to risk losing the their market share in the South.

Lucky Laertes

It is not entirely true that the ad was never screened again. I saw it several times in summer 1989 on MTV Europe or another European music channel.


Yup - once again Clare proves her to be the source that the journalists and media likes to go to!

Well done, Clare, you deserve it with all the hard work and dedication you show with this site.


Cool article, and great to hear from Leon on the subject. It's interesting to note that Niki Harris (whos gospelly vocals are a great part of the song) declined to be in the video because of the cross-burning imagery.

Also, great to see webmaster Clare quoted as an authority on Madonna!


Why using such a song as Like A Prayer combined with a tacky trademark as Pepsi?

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