Pepsi Signs NBA MVP Magic Johnson for Commercials
May. 22, 1989
SOMERS, N.Y. (AP) _ Pepsi-Cola Co. said Monday it had signed Earvin ''Magic'' Johnson, the National Basketball Association's Most Valuable Player for 1989, to appear in its soft drink advertising and promotions.
Pepsi said it signed Johnson, who plays for the Los Angeles Lakers, to a three-year contract to appear in a series of television, radio and print ads as well as in promotions and personal appearances. No terms were disclosed.
The announcement came the same day the NBA announced Johnson edged Michael Jordan of the Chicago Bulls for its MVP award. Jordan already has a commercial contract with Pepsi rival, Coca-Cola Co.
The first Pepsi commercials featuring Johnson - who in 1979 was featured in an ad campaign for rival soft drink Seven-Up - are expected to be produced and aired later this summer.
The soft drink companies frequently have turned to sports figures for advertising personalities.
Coca-Cola Co., for instance, has featured hockey star Wayne Gretzky and players from all 28 National Football League teams in recent soft drink ads.
NBA stars Jordan, Isiah Thomas of the Detroit Pistons and Dominique Wilkins of the Atlanta Hawks have appeared in commercials for Coca-Cola products. Coca-Cola also announced last January it had been selected as the exclusive soft drink of the NBA.
Its 1979 commercial featuring the football star Mean Joe Greene tossing a jersey to a youngster who gave him a Coke after a tough game remains one of the industry's best remembered commercials.
Basketball star Larry Bird has appeared in local ads for Pepsi in his home state of Indiana. Yachtsman Dennis Conner and football stars Joe Montana and Dan Marino also have appeared in ads for Pepsi products.
But Pepsi abruptly dropped heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson from its Diet Pepsi advertising last summer after Tyson's much-publicized marital breakup and personal problems.