Madonna’s Triumphant Return as Banned 1989 Ad Resurrected: But Does It Still Shock?

In a stunning resurgence, Madonna, the iconic Queen of Pop, emerges from the shadows as Pepsi unearths a once-banned ’80s gem at the MTV VMAs.

The Queen of Pop Returns

Madonna, the irreplaceable Queen of Pop, has stepped back into the limelight with a sassy grin after Pepsi dug up her once-banned gem from the ’80s and let it sparkle at the MTV VMAs.

In a brisk 52 seconds, this 1989 ad, once deemed too hot to handle, graced our screens, featuring Madonna and her troupe of dancers in a cityscape escapade, swaying to the rhythm of her fresh hit, “Like a Prayer.”

“Go ahead,” she playfully urged viewers, “Make a wish.”

Mild in Today’s World

The ad is as mild as a morning breeze by today’s standards. 

But for those who remember the firestorm it once ignited, its reappearance was nothing short of jaw-dropping, even for the Queen herself.

Taking to social media, she delivered a cheeky jab on Wednesday:

“34 years ago, I made a commercial with Pepsi to celebrate the release of my song Like a Prayer,” she recounted on Instagram. 


“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.”

With a tip of her hat to Pepsi for belatedly recognizing the brilliance of their collaboration, Madonna closed her note with the timeless words of James Baldwin: “Artists are here to disturb the peace.”

Drinking the Competition

But Madonna wasn’t finished there. A snapshot of her sipping nonchalantly from a Coca-Cola can, Pepsi’s sworn rival, landed on her Instagram story with a playful caption: “Also good!”

The saga began with a $5 million deal between Pepsi and Madonna, inked ahead of the March 1989 release of her game-changing album, “Like a Prayer.” 

Yet, when Pepsi agreed, they hadn’t glimpsed the music video. 

A Visual Masterpiece

This visual masterpiece saw Madonna witnessing a wrongful conviction of a Black man. Taking refuge in a church, she kisses a Black saint resembling the falsely accused man, then experiences stigmata, dancing amidst blazing crosses.

This visually potent concoction ruffled feathers in various Christian circles, including the Vatican, after its MTV premiere. 

Though the commercial sidestepped the video’s provocative religious imagery, Pepsi pulled the plug, severing ties with Madonna and shelving her ad after just two airings.

Becoming a Cherished Hit

But in true Madonna fashion, she had the last laugh. Not only did she pocket the cool $5 million, but “Like a Prayer” soared as a global sensation, etching its place in the pantheon of her most cherished hits.

Comments from fans rolled in, painting a vivid snapshot of time:

“Thirty-four years ago, dang. Time is the Devil.” One user wrote.

“Folks hate her now, but she was as popular as Taylor Swift back in the day. Her songs were everywhere.” People were quick to educate the young ones about the impact of Madonna.

“Artists Are Here to Disturb the Peace”

Madonna’s saga with Pepsi has now resurfaced. It is a testament to the indomitable spirit of artistic integrity and the echoes it leaves through the sands of time. 

It’s a tale of refusing compromise, even when confronted with the might of an industry giant. 

As Madonna once declared, “Artists are here to disturb the peace,” and disturb it she did, etching herself into the annals of pop culture history.

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Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Denis Makarenko

Source: B&T