Cola Wars May Rage On, but Minaj, American Idol Unscathed

The Internet rumor mill churned into high gear this week with word that hip-hop artist and PepsiCo spokesperson Nicki Minaj was a leading candidate to join the judges table on “American Idol,” except for a potential block of the deal by the Coca-Cola Co. Inc, which has been a major sponsor of the reality singing competition for the past 11 years. However, it appears that the two soda giants will play nice in this case, as Advertising Age has reported that Coke and Pepsi have given “Idol” execs and Minaj the green light on a partnership.

Recall that Pepsi signed Minaj to lead a new global marketing campaign for its flagship brand in April as part of its new “Live for Now” initiative, which is designed to offer consumers “one-of-a-kind experiences” through partnerships with pop-culture icons and musicians. Yet while Coke’s sponsorship of “American Idol” reportedly costs the company $26 million per year, Coke said that it would not stand in the way of Minaj joining “Idol,” stating it “is not directly involved in the specific editorial aspects of the show.”

“‘American Idol’ has always done a great job over the past years bringing in new talent to the show to keep it exciting for viewers, and we look forward to the 2013 season,” Coke spokeswoman Melina Baetti told Advertising Age.

Despite the likelihood of a deal, Minaj may be on thin ice while on “Idol” as it is unclear if she will violate the terms of her contract if she drinks or handles a Coke product while on the show.