Madonna's 'Like a Prayer' premieres in a Pepsi-Cola commercial

Copyright: Getty Images

On the last day of February 1989 Madonna’s "Like a Prayer" was released. Two days later Pepsi-Cola used the song in a commercial. They had paid Madonna $5,000,000 to sing for them, but the commercial went on TV only twice, both times on 2 March. It first appeared during The Cosby Show in the USA, and then during the police series The Bill in Britain.

The video showed Madonna drinking Pepsi-Cola, of course, in a cozy atmosphere, and was the type of advertisement which lots of families liked. But when the Pepsi directors saw the other video of the song, which was selling like hotcakes, they stopped showing their commercial.

The trouble was, lots of people thought that the version of “Like a Prayer” which the public were buying was blasphemous, so Pepsi wanted nothing to do with the song. They cancelled their contract with Madonna, but she kept the five million. She also won the Viewer’s Choice Award at the MTV Video Music Awards in September for the video that caused all the trouble.


The following sentences contain incorrect information. Rewrite them so that they show the true facts.

1.      The two videos were released on the same day.

2.      The Pepsi video was shown on 29 February and 2 March.

3.      The Pepsi video appeared first in Britain and then in the USA.

4.      Some people thought the Pepsi video was blasphemous.

5.      Pepsi signed a new contract with Madonna.

6.      Madonna had to repay the $5,000,000 which she had received from Pepsi.


Activities for the links below

1.      Go to the first website. There you will find a text outlining why some people were outraged by the video of “Like A Prayer” (not the Pepsi commercial). You can watch the video on the same website. Discuss among yourselves whether the video is offensive.

2.      If you turn to the second website, you will find an article on Madonna from Rolling Stone. The English is difficult in parts, but don’t give up. The only thing you have to do is read the first paragraph and then rewrite it in plain English. If you find this task difficult, choose another paragraph from the biography to rewrite.

Cappelen Damm

Sist oppdatert: 02.08.2010

© Cappelen Damm AS