Pop Icon Britney Spears Joins the Pepsi Generation
PURCHASE, N.Y. - Pop icon Britney Spears has joined the Pepsi Generation.
The teen idol, known for chart toppers such as ``...Baby, One More Time'' and ``Oops!...I Did it Again,'' signed a deal that Pepsi said is among the soft drink company's biggest and most far-reaching agreements ever with an entertainer.
Spears, a 19-year-old singing sensation, joined the ranks of other celebrity endorsers such as Michael Jackson and Ray Charles for Pepsi. In 1984, Jackson helped launch the Pepsi Generation.
Speaking to a gathering of hundreds of employees and their children at Pepsi headquarters in Purchase, New York, Spears called her predecessors as Pepsi endorsers ``all of my heroes.''
``I'm so happy to be here today with all of you,'' the teen idol said Tuesday, holding a can of Pepsi. ``It's such an honor.''
Dawn Hudson, senior vice president of strategy and marketing, presented Spears with a Pepsi vending machine for the game room of her new home.
``It helps hit home with the very important teen market,'' UBS Warburg beverage analyst Caroline Levy. ``It's a very important market for them to reach.''
Terms of the contract were not disclosed, but are likely to rank with deals struck by other icons, like golfer Tiger Woods and tennis star Venus Williams (news - web sites). Woods reportedly is raking in $100 million over five years to promote Nike sports apparel and Williams just signed a five-year contract with Nike rival Reebok for a reported $40 million.
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 television on March 25.
Aaron Walton 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 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 television. 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 re-jigged 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.
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).
``I'm a Britney fanatic,'' a 15-year-old girl at the event said.
Hudson said the Spears ads would target a general audience, not just the kids who make up the majority of Spears' fans. Spears will promote the main Pepsi brand but not other drinks such as Diet Pepsi or Mountain Dew, Hudson said.
UBS Warburg's Levy said that teenagers were more likely to connect with Spears than with child actress Hallie Eisenberg, who features in Pepsi's current campaign.
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