*Janelle Monae was unveiled today as the star of Pepsi’s new global 2014 futbol campaign “Now Is What You Make It.”
She appears halfway through the 90-second spot debuting today in 100 countries, seen and heard on the streets of Rio de Janiero singing a Brazilian-flavored cover of David Bowie’s “Heroes,” which also became available for purchase today on iTunes.
The spot features appearances from Pepsi’s all-star soccer lineup, including Robin van Persie, David Lutz, Sergio Ramos, Sergio Aguero, Jack Wilshire and four-time player of the year Leo Messi.
An interactive, documentary-like version of the commercial, featuring U.S. star Clint Dempsey, provides even more content for fans to unlock, including a full-length version of Monae’s “Heroes” video.” The clip is available here.
“It was really cool,” Monae tells Billboard of the star-studded shoot. “I admire all the players and soccer and just sports in general. The teamwork those players experience is very similar to how I have my own business, my recording label, my band and how we’re a team and when we have great shows at places like South by Southwest we can all just share in that moment and remember it for the rest of our lives. I was just excited to be amongst other people who can understand what that feels like.”
Monae’s Wondaland Production unit produced the new version of “Heroes,” she added. “We all loved the original so much, however we wanted to put some Atlanta in it, some down South in it, and a little bit of Rio in it and make it our own. We love David Bowie, and he’s a fan as well, so we just wanted to make him proud.”
Monae is no stranger to working with brands , particularly in the past 12 months alone – from a long-term endorsement deal with Cover Girl to an “Unstaged” performance for American Express to a deluxe edition of “The Electric Lady” for Target to a series of commercials for Sonos to just last month, an intimate performance for Samsung at South by Southwest.
Monae insists she’s still “very particular” in choosing her corporate partners. “I don’t work with just any brand, and of course when I’m approached it has to be a mutual feeling. I’m a big fan of Pepsi and the lineup from Beyonce to Michael [Jackson] to all the incredible artists, so just to be asked to stand alongside them is great. And I got a chance to do music that I wanted to do, so I get to keep my brand. And the brand I’m partnering with helps bring wings and legs and arms to my ideas. That’s always inspiring to see your ideas soar and helping get them out into the world.”