Pepsi Ads to Run on Soviet TV

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PepsiCo. says it has bought the first commercial time sold by Soviet television to a non-Soviet company.

Five minutes of Pepsi commercials--two of which feature Michael Jackson in his first appearance on Soviet television--will air May 17-21 on the broadcasts of a five-part series, “Pozner in America.”

The soft-drink company expects 150 million Soviets to tune into the show, a satellite hook-up between KING-TV in Seattle and Moscow featuring Soviet commentator Vladimir Pozner speaking with Americans on subjects ranging from their attitudes about the Soviet Union to family life in the United States. The series will run one week before the Moscow summit of President Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.


“Pepsi was the first American consumer product sold in the Soviet Union so we wanted to buy the first commercial offered to a Western state,” said Barry Holt, director of public affairs for Pepsi Cola International in Somers, N.Y., on Thursday.

Soviets buy 1 billion servings of Pepsi a year--in restaurants, grocery stores and street kiosks--Holt said.

The commercial deal calls for four one-minute ads and two 30-second spots, all of which have aired in the United States. The Jackson commercials are “Concert,” “Backstage,” “Floats,” in which an American astronaut and a Soviet cosmonaut grapple for a Pepsi bottle floating in space; and “Guitar,” which features an American rock ‘n’ roll musician.

The 30-second ads show Americans enjoying Pepsi on the beach and in the desert.

All the ads will have Russian narration.

The air time was sold to Pepsi at an undisclosed price by Global American Television, an independent production company based in Colrain, Mass.