Pepsi, AOL, Britney Spears Join Forces

  |  March 25, 2002   |  Comments

The beverage maker leverages its separate marketing deal with Spears in a promotion for its sponsorship of the pop star's upcoming concert series.

Britney Spears and cross-media marketing juggernaut AOL Time Warner are again teaming up, this time by way of a promotional deal forged in conjunction with Pepsi Co. .

Spears' upcoming tour, which kicks off this spring and is sponsored by Pepsi, will be promoted across New York-based AOL Time Warner's online properties, including its flagship America Online service and its AOL Music group of sites, which includes and music-related areas of and CompuServe.

AOL Music will feature exclusive Spears content from the tour -- such as photos, backstage footage and tour information. The media conglomerate also said it would promote Purchase, N.Y.-based Pepsi's sponsorship of the tour via a sweepstakes, offering a four-day trip for four to New York City, culminating in Spears' July 6 performance at the nearby New Jersey Meadowlands.

In addition to ads throughout AOL Music properties, America Online will promote the contest via Keyword: Pepsi Backstate. Pepsi also said it would promote the effort in stores.

The complicated, three-way arrangement continues a previous marketing relationship between Dulles, Va.-based America Online and Spears, which saw the service promoting the pop singer's concerts last fall through ads and advance ticket sales.

As a result, the troika of AOL, Pepsi and Spears aligns the media giant's year-old marketing deal with the pop princess alongside Pepsi's separate, extensive alliance with Spears, who it appointed last February to serve as its chief spokesperson.

"This marks another great way we can work with Britney and marketing partners like Pepsi to create great promotions and exciting opportunities that our members love," said Robert Friedman, America Online's president of interactive marketing. "America Online is uniquely positioned to create tailored marketing packages such as these for our partners, while offering exclusive benefits to our members -- including the chance to attend one of the biggest concert tours of the summer."

For its part, the beverage maker has not been shy about using the Internet as a channel to leverage its relationship with Spears, although the beverage giant has chiefly used America Online rival Yahoo for its advertising.

Last year, Pepsi used Yahoo to debut an ad that starred Spears two hours before its premiere during the Academy Awards broadcast. The company reprised that effort during this year's Oscars broadcast Sunday evening, showing off a new ad starring Cindy Crawford. In spite of the new promotion on AOL, Yahoo spokespeople said that Pepsi continues as a major advertiser.

Pepsi, meanwhile, said it had chiefly been drawn to AOL because of the New York media giant's existing deal with Spears.

"We wanted to find an online extension of our offline, in-store contest to give our consumers more opportunities to win," said a spokesman. "It made since to work with [AOL] on this one."

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