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Britney Spears in sponsorship pact with Pepsi

Britney Spears in sponsorship pact with Pepsi

Pepsi-Cola signed teenage superstar Britney Spears to promote its soft drink, putting the pop icon in the the ranks of such musical celebrities as Michael Jackson and Ray Charles who have endorsed its products.

Pepsi, the world's No. 2 soft drink company behind Coca-Cola Co., said the deal set to be announced Tuesday afternoon is among its biggest and most far-reaching agreements ever with an entertainer.

Terms of the contract were not disclosed, but are likely to rank Spears with other icons of her generation, like golfer Tiger Woods and tennis star Venus Williams. Woods reportedly is raking in $100 million over five years to promote Nike sports apparel and Williams just signed a contract with Nike rival Reebok for a reported $40 million in a five-year deal.

Spears, a 19-year-old icon known for hits such as "...Baby, One More Time" and "Oops!...I Did it Again," was expected to appear at the Purchase, N.Y. headquarters of PepsiCo Inc., the parent of Pepsi, in front of a group of company employees and their children to announce the deal.

Pepsi said Spears signed a global sponsorship and advertising agreement, which includes co-sponsorship of her upcoming worldwide tour. The first television commercial is expected to debut during the Academy Awards.

Aaron Walpon Entertainment, a Los Angeles-based music marketing agency, brokered the deal.

Perhaps Pepsi's most famous past ad campaign was 1984's "Pepsi - The Choice of a New Generation" commercials with Jackson, which earned him a reported $5 million. The ads were a huge hit with Jackson's fans, but also attracted attention after Jackson was burned during the filming of one of the commercial's scenes.

The Spears ads are likely to be an extension of the company's "The Joy of Pepsi" ads, which made their debut during the Jan. 28 Super Bowl. Former Sen. Bob Dole and world chess champion Garry Kasparov appeared in two of the popular Super Bowl ads, which were created by Pepsi's longtime agency, BBDO New York. BBDO is owned by Omnicom Group.

The Super Bowl ads touted a rejigged version of the company's earlier "The Joy of Cola" commercials, which featured country superstar Faith Hill and soul diva Aretha Franklin, among others.

Pepsi has also been promoted by stars ranging from actor Michael J. Fox to basketball superstar Shaquille O'Neal.

And in the early 1990s, Charles promoted the company's Diet Pepsi drink with catchy "You Got the Right One Baby" commercials.

Pepsi hopes its first commercial starring Spears will debut during the March 25 broadcast of the Academy Awards on ABC. Pepsi will also sponsor Spears' upcoming worldwide tour.

The deal calls for Spears and Pepsi to collaborate on television commercials and other forms of advertising, such as point-of-purchase promotions. There will also be hyperlinks between Britney Spears' official Web site (http://www.britneyspears.com) and Pepsi-Cola's Internet site, (http://www.pepsi.com).

Spears, who grew up in Kentwood, La., is up for two Grammys later this month - "Best Pop Vocal Album" and "Best Female Pop Vocal Performance."

The Pepsi deal is not Spears' first foray into sponsorship deals. Last year, Spears signed a footwear marketing pact with Skechers U.S.A. Inc..

Pepsi-Cola is the soft drink unit of PepsiCo, which also makes Frito-Lay snack chips and Tropicana juices.


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