Pepsi, Among Others, Pays Tribute to King of Pop

But Why Does Landing Page Tout 'See the Joy'?

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That didn't take long. Pepsi in Canada is running ads on several music sites to pay tribute to its former pitchman, the late Michael Jackson.

Pepsi was already running the "Joy It Forward" campaign but when the pop star passed away last night, it tweaked the creative running on several music sites, including the MuchMusic Video Awards, Yahoo Canada Music, MSN Canada Music and MySpace Canada Music.

The ad itself is a tribute to the real-time nature of online creative -- it's powered by ad-technology company Eyeblaster and was tweaked in short order using its new "Smart Versioning" tool, designed to make dynamic text, video, images and audio updates to online ads. Pepsi's online advertising in Canada is handled by OMD Canada and BBDO/Proximity.

But upon clicking through, the landing page gave us pause: It says nothing to acknowledge Jackson's death, instead touting a sunny message about how Pepsi contains "a little joy" and something about a "Joyometer" -- "an ever-changing collection of stats, sure to put a smile on your face." Not exactly mourning material.

Other marketers with Michael-related messages? Travel search engine Farecast, now known as Bing Travel, took advantage of the Twitter trending topic and tweeted an MJ-themed promotion: "Remembering a Thriller: Places to pay tribute to the king of pop from the Bing Travel team http://bit.ly/dOrpJ #travel #MJ."

Meanwhile, TV networks rearranged their schedules as well, hoping to draw fans. VH1 will run an Michael Jackson music-video marathon while Fox on Monday is re-airing an episode of "American Idol" where the idols performed songs by the late pop star.

The star's passing also gave an unexpected boost to digital music sites, which have been flooded with MJ fans over the past 24 hours. Rhapsody erected a "Remembering Michael" promotion while Amazon set up a retrospective.

And within hours of the star's passing, a host of artists from 50-Cent to The Game, Diddy and Chris Brown were ready to cash in with tribute songs and videos.

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