Britney Spears to Promote Pepsi

Britney Spears has found a company sweet and syrupy enough to be her corporate sponsor — Pepsi Cola.

The soft-drink maker said the deal with the 19-year-old singer was its biggest and most far-reaching agreement ever with an entertainer. Though terms weren't disclosed, the deal is likely to rank with golfer Tiger Woods' reported $100 million deal with Nike and tennis star Venus Williams' $40 million deal with Reebok.

Ads Set for Oscar Debut

Spears, with a beaming smile and can of Pepsi in hand, told the hundreds gathered at Pepsi central in Purchase, N.Y., that she was following "all my heroes."

Other musicians to hawk the soda include Ray Charles, MC Hammer, Aretha Franklin, and Michael Jackson, who drew attention to the sponsorship when his hair caught fire in the filming of a 1984 commercial.

Many have forgotten that Spears' pop-singing hero, Madonna, was once paid $5 million for the use of her song "Like a Prayer" in a 1989 commercial. The commercial aired once, but on the following day, Madonna debuted her own controversial video for the song; Pepsi decided to never air the commercial again.

Pepsi Cola, owned by PepsiCo Inc., is the world's No. 2 soft-drink company, behind Atlanta-based Coca-Cola Co.

Pepsi and Spears signed a global sponsorship and advertising agreement including co-sponsorship of her upcoming worldwide tour. The first television commercial is expected to debut during the Academy Awards on ABC March 25.

Investors Approve of the Deal

The Spears ads will be an extension of the company's "The Joy of Pepsi" ads, which made their debut during the Jan. 28 Super Bowl on CBS. 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.

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

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, britneyspears.com, and Pepsi Cola's Internet site, pepsi.com.

Dawn Hudson, senior vice president of strategy and marketing, presented Spears with a Pepsi vending machine for the game room of her new home.

Hudson said the Spears ads, which will not include plugs for Mountain Dew or Diet Pepsi, would target a general audience, not just the kids who make up the majority of Spears' fans.

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.

Investors, apparently, were pleased with the new spokeswoman — PepsiCo's stock closed at $45.26, up 26 cents on Tuesday.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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