Yes, there's a new Pepsi Girl in town and her name is Britney Spears. The 19-year-old (soda) popster was introduced Tuesday afternoon as the latest cola kid, joining the likes of Michael Jackson and Ray Charles as singers who've signed lucrative sponsorship deals with Pepsi.
The teen queen, clutching a can of Pepsi Cola in hand, addressed employees and their families Tuesday at the soft drink company's headquarters in Purchase, New York.
"I'm so happy to be here today with all of you," Spears told the crowd. "It's such an honor."
The megadeal, which is among the soft drink company's biggest and most far-reaching agreements ever with an entertainer, is aimed at getting kids drinking Pepsi young so they become lifelong consumers of the beverage.
Financial details of the Pepsi pact weren't disclosed, but this much we know: In addition to buckets of cash, Britney gets a Pepsi vending machine for her new L.A. home from the company, which will also sponsor Spears' upcoming world tour. In exchange, Britney will appear in TV commercials pushing Pepsi. The first spot, an extension of the recent "The Joy of Pepsi" ads, is scheduled to debut during ABC's Academy Awards telecast on March 25.
There will also be hyperlinks between Britney Spears' official Website (www.britneyspears.com) and Pepsi's Internet site (www.pepsi.com).
In the past, Spears has appeared in commercials for Disney and had a promotional deal with McDonald's, among others.
Ironically, Spears seems to be a recent convert to the joys of Pepsi. During her 2000 world tour, the singer demanded her dressing room be stocked with exactly six cans of Coke, Pepsi's archrival in the soda pop business. (A copy of the tour rider, which specifies her former softdrink preference, is available on The Smoking Gun Website.)
Meanwhile, Netizen reaction has been mixed, with Britney bashers predictably saying the deal proves she's just in it for the money and Britney fans defending their idol. And then there's the one poster to a Yahoo! message board who notes the match between Pepsi and Britney are perfect: "Both are: commercial products, stimulating in small doses, sickening in large doses, bubbly, sugary, artificially flavored and poisonous to the digestion."