Here's The Pitch: Top 10 Commercials Starring Musicians

Madonna's infamous "Like a Prayer" Pepsi ad, 1989
Madonna's infamous "Like a Prayer" Pepsi ad, 1989

Every now and then, name-brand companies need a little extra pizzazz when it comes to advertising, and often they turn to the music world to do this. Either way, it's a win-win situation for both the artist and the company because the artist usually walks away with a hefty amount of money. Even better, these ad campaigns are often memorable.

But which ones are the best? Here are the ones that stood out.

10. Pat Benatar (and her mother) for her own album, 1984's Get Nervous:When Pat Benatar released Get Nervous in 1984, not only did she become an icon, but the tongue-in-cheek album cover solidified her status as such. To promote the album, Chrysalis records made this memorably zany commercial starring her mom. Though Benatar only appears in her music videos, this still counts. Like mother, like daughter.

9. David Bowie & Tina Turner for Pepsi, 1987: In 1987 David Bowie and Tina Turner teamed up for a Pepsi commercial that used a reworked version of "Modern Love." The commercial starred David Bowie as a scientist that inadvertently creates his dream woman when he spills Pepsi onto his latest project.

8. Paula Abdul & Gene Kelly for Diet Coke, 1991: Former American Idol judge and pop star Paula Abdul starred in not one but many commercials for Diet Coke in the '90s. Amidst her many commercials for them, her most memorable one will always be where she dances alongside a young Gene Kelly.


7. "I Want My MTV," 1984: Ahhhhhh.......MTV in the good ol' days. You see kiddies, MTV used to air these things called "music videos" and apparently still do on the channel's other subsidiaries. However, MTV rarely airs any good artists anymore. But alas, at one point in the cosmos, they launched a slew of legends that included Pat Benatar, The Police, John Cougar Mellencamp, Pete Townshend (of the Who) and many others, all of whom starred in various promos for the network.

6. The Go-Go's for Bugle Boy Jeans, 1991: In the late 80's and early 90's, any man who was awesome wore Bugle Boy jeans. In the early 90's, the Go-Go's reunited briefly to film this commercial for the Superbowl commercial.

5. MC Hammer for Taco Bell, 1989: In 1989, MC Hammer was at the height of his career. He essentially brought rap music to a brand new audience. So what does he do? Makes a commercial for Taco Bell. However even his Hammer pants couldn't save his career - he filed for bankruptcy.

4. Madonna "Make a Wish" for Pepsi, 1989: Perhaps no other commercial on this list had more controversy surrounding it than the 1989 "Like a Prayer" spot starring Madonna. It wasn't so much the actual commercial that was controversial but the music video for the song the commercial used. The actual music video included blending the two societal taboos that Madonna almost always uses: Sex and religion. Conservative groups threatened to boycott Pepsi and all its subsidiaries. Pepsi caved in and pulled the commercial after only a few airings, one during the 31st Annual Grammy Awards and the other during The Cosby Show.


3. Ozzy Osbourne for Pepsi Twist, 2003: The day in which Ozzy discovered he wasn't in his own world. This commercial made its debut during the 2003 Super Bowl. Ozzy, if you are reading this, I would scream bloody murder too if I woke up one morning and all my drinks were New Coke and I found out I was married to Jimmy Swaggart. I feel your pain.

2. Britney Spears, Pepsi through the years, including 2001: In 2001, Britney Spears was at the top of her game. She dominated pretty much whatever medium in which she was featured, be it MTV, radio or live concerts. She was the Debbie Gibson for a new generation - only bigger.

This is Britney at her best - before K-Fed, her children, various custody battles, the drugs, that time when she shaved her head and looked like a madman, among her other crazy antics. One of the best things about this commercial is that it sort of lampoons various decades from the 50's right up until 2001. However, it would've been better with a parody of Flashdance instead of the tacky "Addicted to Love" segment.

1. Michael Jackson and kid impersonator for Pepsi - 1984 Fresh off the Victory Tour with the Jacksons and a stint in the burn unit for third-degree burns from his first Pepsi commercial, the King of Pop decided to film another ad for the soft drink - only this time without all the bells and whistles.

Nevertheless, this one is memorable because it stars a then-unknown Alfonso Ribeiro, who would later become known for his role as the Tom Jones-lovin' bad-dancing preppy Carlton Banks on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.

Honorable Mention: "The Night Belongs to Michelob" with Phil Collins from 1986; David Bowie's XM Satellite Radio commercial; Madonna & Missy Elliott's 2003 Gap Jeans ad

Sponsor Content


All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >